The Withdrawal Agreement without the backstop is still a bad Treaty

The PM is trying to get the EU to revisit the Withdrawal Agreement by asking them to first strike out the 165 pages of the backstop. It is by no means clear Parliament would vote through the WA minus the backstop, as it still leaves us staying in the EU for another 21 to 45 months, paying them large sums, keeping us under the ECJ and various other undesirable features often discussed here. To a leaver the WA is not Brexit, and to a Remainer it is clearly worse than staying in.  The PM would need to require other changes as well. The EU has repeated the mantra it put into the delay agreement, that it will not reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, so it looks as if there will be nothing to put to Parliament anyway. .

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  1. JohnK
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope Boris is bluffing, but I wish he wouldn’t.

    The entire WA is toxic. The Irish Backstop is one of the worst parts of it, but the rest is terrible too.

    We need to leave the EU on 31st October. We need to pay them not one penny more than we owe. We need to offer them negotiations on an FTA via GATT Article XXIV, pending which we should propose a tariff free arrangement .

    That is it. There is no need to try and be clever. It is a small chance, but what of the EU agreed to talks over the Irish Backstop? That could blow up in Boris’s face. He needs to keep this as simple as possible. We are leaving on 31st October. We want decent relations with the EU, and an FTA in due course. That’s it!

    • Andy
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Before June 2016 we had decent relations with the EU and the best trading arrangement in the world. And you voted against all that because you thought it was not good enough.

      And yet every other option is inferior.

      You traded in your top of the range brand new Aston Martin for a second hand Allegro. You’ve traded in your brand new iPhone for a 1993 Motorola. Downgrading in this way is not normal. Of course you’re not going to like it.

      Reply Nonsense. Why do you so despise freedom and self government

      • Robert mcdonald
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Before June 2016 we asked 72 times for consideration of matters of concern to us, and despite eurocrats being fully aware of Cameron’s difficulty at home over the eu they sent him back with his tail between his legs … and you suggest that’s a sign of a decent relationship ? How is being made to pay 20 billion a year for a trade deal .. more than we would pay through tariffs, a best trading deal in the world. We are trading in in a dodgy VW for a modern car that meets our standards .. and by the ways who makes an I phone … not the EU.

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink


          Cameron was just another in a long line British politicians demanding opt outs and special treatment. It caused great resentment among the other members of what had become the world’s most successful trading bloc that a relative johnny come lately like ourselves thought we deserved special privileges.

          Whether or not calling a referendum was Cameron’s latest ploy to extract yet more advantages from the EU it misfired disastrously and the country is now faced with it’s worst post war crisis.

          To blame the EU for any of this is quite absurd and our young people who will be left to clear up this mess will never forgive Brexiteers for ruining their future.

          • BJC
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink


            Not only have our exports to the EU been on a relentlessly downward trajectory, but we’re paying disproportionate and increasing membership fees for the privilege of a £60+b trade deficit with them.

            Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain how it can be acceptable that no matter what level of trade we do with the EU we’re obliged to pay their cleverly rebranded tariffs (aka membership fees) based on our overall income. Income includes our successful worldwide trade, so it’s rather like having your income tax calculated on your neighbour’s executive salary simply because you belong in the same neighbourhood.

            The Rotterdam Effect has also disguised our true level of trade of trade with the EU, so it will probably be considerably less than anyone could have imagined meaning every item exported could be costing us thousands. Who would know?

            Have you considered the fact that if trade tariffs were applied they would not only be set at a level suitable for our needs, but would only be due on actual trade? Given the above points, wouldn’t tariffs be considerably less than the extortionate bill for our “membership fees”?

            On the matter of vetoes and opt-outs, Margaret, you will be aware that these will shortly be of little/no value because of the drive towards QMV in key areas. This would have had a further detrimental effect on the UK had we voted to Remain, so in all fairness its impact can’t be left out of the equation.

          • A.Sedgwick
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

            Cameron only called for a referendum because the people, remember them, were voting UKIP. The EU is a totalitarian state without tanks.

          • IanT
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            “The worlds most successful trading block” ?? Really Margaret – what a load of old cobblers.

            It is the worlds slowest growing economic block, with Club Med being sacrificed on the altar of Germanys well being. The EUs share of our exports has been declining slowly for fifteen years (58% > 45%) – we have been quietly trading with the rest of the world as Europe goes downhill. My poor Italy has seen no growth for ten years…. I can assure you that many Italians (and most of those in the South) don’t see the EU as having brought them very much economic success!

          • NickC
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, As usual you are misinformed. The UK was not a “johnny-come-lately”, we joined the EEC when there were only the 6 founding members. There are now 28.

            The UK got special treatment alright: when we joined in 1973, the EEC (EU) stole our fish and imposed huge costs to prop up French farmers (and the EU itself). And all when, according to you, the UK was known as the “sick man of Europe”. That caused great resentment here.

            Worse, in some ways, was the fact that our vision – a friendly trading bloc, avoiding centralisation – was systematically destroyed by the imposition of the EU’s dirigiste program. The UK had neither power nor influence. We were just used as the “treasure island” to finance the EU ideology’s power grab.

            And now we are a “colony”. Is that what “young people” want? I very much doubt it somehow.

          • Kevin Lohse
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            On the contrary, Brexiteers have given future generations a future. One only has to consider the high levels of structural youth unemployment endemic in many Eurozone countries since 2008 to realise the basic fallacy of your argument.

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink


            ” My poor Italy has seen no growth for ten years…. I can assure you that many Italians (and most of those in the South) don’t see the EU as having brought them very much economic success!”

            Really? Did you ever visit Italy in the 1950’s pre EU days? Well I did, many times and the poverty was appalling, not just in the South. Absolutely no comparison with the Italy of today.

            Greece was on the verge of collapse and cheated to get into the EU. As for the advancement of former Communist countries there is absolutely no comparison.

            Although China and India are now joining the global community there is no bloc as successful as the EU in either trade or protecting the interests of member states.

          • libertarian
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            Margaret Howard

            So you finally admit there is no sovereignty in the EU , member countries have to do what they are told and not what is in the best interests of their county. We’ve been telling you that for years. I guess waking up is better late than never

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:47 am | Permalink

          We are trading in a car (designed and driven by the EU for their needs) for one designed and build by ourselves to meet our needs. We are restoring democracy.

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink


            I was there when we joined 5 decades ago. What democracy did we loose? What exactly are you going to restore? Membership has been the best thing we had after the madness of the 20th century. It made us rich and the EU spent billions in restoring so many of our blighted regions.

            All to be taken away from us. Madness.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

            ‘It made us rich’, MH? What a staggeringly ignorant comment, devoid of all facts as usual! The grants that were received by the regions were a tiny percentage of our contributions coming back. The EU has drained our wealth.

          • Know-Dice
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            @margaret howard

            Maybe you should look up “The Marshall Plan” – It was the USA that spent billions not the EU…especially in the UK, France & Germany

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink


            Does that mean moving the steering wheel from the right to the left?

            And once we’ve re-established our car industry your wondrous idea of democracy is miraculously returned to you?

            So cars aren’t just vehicles to get you from A to B but givers of democracy? Not just the freedom of the roads?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            How then did Singapore become end up with a GDP per cap about twice that of the UK from being about 1/2 of the UKs over recent years? They were (fortunately for them) not a member of the UK and have far fewer natural advantages and resources.

            They did it by having sensible levels of government expenditure and far less government waste and the many other government insanities the UK and EU suffer from. Look at the figures!

          • Robert mcdonald
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            Margaret .. how has it made us rich ? We were 3rd largest world economy in 1975 when we joined, we are now 6th. Our growth has been no better during our period of being in the eu than it was before on average.

      • NickC
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        Andy, The UK is a colony of the EU. I don’t want that. Neither do 17.4m other adults. Only 16.1m thought like you – except many of them didn’t. Generally Remain voters told me that the EU needed reform, and that they simply did not want to rock the boat. They did not think the EU was the best trading arrangement in the world. I only found one Remain who actually liked the EU as you do, everyone else didn’t.

        • Bob
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          It’s quite obvious that the Remain vote was boosted by tales of doom and Armageddon from Project Fear.

          With the benefit of hindsight everyone can now see what a load of baloney it all was, but undeterred, the BBC are still pumping out for all they’re worth.

          They seem to have shredded the Royal Charter and yet the Licence Fees continue rolling in (albeit not from my household).

      • G Wilson
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        You don’t get to say why other people voted.

        People voted against being part of the EU superstate because we wish to be an independent democracy that makes our own laws and controls our own taxes and money.

        We have a lousy “trading arrangement” with the EU, which sets our import taxes, often against the interest of British consumers, yet has done practically nothing to boost our performance.

        We were never asked if we wished to be in the EU for over two decades after we were forced to join. We did not consent, but were forced to join anyway.

        It is past time that travesty was ended.

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

          G Wilson

          “We were never asked if we wished to be in the EU for over two decades after we were forced to join”

          First of all we were not forced to join. In 1975 I along with 67% of the population voted to stay in the EU.

          Secondly in that time or any other time have we ever been asked if we wish to have an unelected house of lords, unelected head of state, over powerful unelected civil servants or any other parts of the establishment lord it over us as they still do. In fact they have just foisted a prime minister on us without anybody having had a say in the matter. Some democracy.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

            No, Margaret, you absolutely did NOT vote to stay in the EU in 1975. You voted to stay in the EEC. I did too. And if grandiose European politicians hadn’t decided to turn the EEC into a federalist superstate, we would probably not now have the problems we have.

          • Julie Williams
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            No-one vote to stay in the EU in 1975, it was the “Common Market”, presented as a trade deal.
            Successive treaties made it what it is today with our governments refusing to give us a say because they knew what the answer would be, other countries ha referendum which were ignored or a rerun force.
            Cameron caught the bullet that Brown dodged.
            It appears that remainders now feel entitle to rewrite history but should contemplate that the end does not necessarily justify the means.

          • A.Sedgwick
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            The EU did not exist in 1975.

          • dixie
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            Stop fibbing, we had no say in joining which happened in 1973. The 1975 referendum was for leaving or staying in and it was 67.23% of the vote for staying which was only 43.44% of registered voters.

            It was not the majority of the population, not even the majority of the voters, simply the majority on the day, just like in 2016.

            Your last paragraph has no bearing on the issue whatsoever.

          • NickC
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            Margaret Howard, First of all we were forced to join. Heath took us in after committing only to negotiate in a brief mention in the 1970 manifesto. No one asked the electorate at the the time the laws were passed (1972).

            The Wilson, supposedly renegotiated deal, referendum came 3 years later (1973). It is a matter of historical record that we were comprehensively lied to by the government itself, not merely by the “In” campaign.

            Secondly, unlike the EU, the body which initiates and passes new law in the UK (the HoC) is wholly elected. You are right, the Brexit process has shown the HoL to be full of despicable Remains determined to overthrow our democracy. It should be replaced by an elected revising chamber.

          • matthu
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            I think you will find that the EU did not exist until 1993.

            Remember the Maastricht Treaty? No referendum.

            Remember Blair and Brown and Clegg all promising us a referendum? No referendum.

            Remember the Cast Iron Promise from Cameron over the Lisbon Treaty which PM Brown sneaked off and signed? No referendum.

            Some people have longer memories than you apparently have.

          • John Wigglesworth
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

            “First of all we were not forced to join. In 1975 I along with 67% of the population voted to stay in the EU”

            No we voted to remain in the EEC, a totally different animal to the EU, but it was always intended by the political elites there and here, though of course we were not informed, that the EEC would morph via the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties into the Eu and on which we never had a vote.

          • Kevin Lohse
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

            Wrong again. The electorate voted the Conservatives into government for a fixed term in 2017. The Conservative party sacked a non- performing Party leader and installed the best available replacement through a transparently democratic process involving the entire membership, both parliamentary and voluntary. I was part of that process, and I’m satisfied with the part I’ve played. BoJo is doing what the referendum voters decided upon, backed up by the manifesto of 2017 and the parliamentary votes to exercise Art. 50. The democratic process is back on track, despite everything you and your fellow authoritarian europhile fellow travellers could do to derail it. There are leading Remainers acknowledging that the debate to Remain has been lost. It’s about time the rest of you recognised that reality and moved on.

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

            Julie Williams

            “No-one vote to stay in the EU in 1975, it was the “Common Market”, presented as a trade deal.”

            No it wasn’t. The following is the official 1975 government referendum leaflet sent to every household in the country:

            The aims of the Common Market are:

            To bring together the peoples of Europe.

            To raise living standards and improve working conditions.

            To promote growth and boost world trade.

            To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.

            To help maintain peace and freedom.

            That’s exactly what we got. And it turned Europe from post war devastation into the world’s most successful trading bloc and saved countries like Greece from total collapse.

            Reply The referendum campaign was all about so called free trade. The EEC was called the “Common Market” here though that was not its name. Pro EEC campaigners denied ever closer union and assured us we would keep our sovereignty and veto

          • Lifelogic
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            We were indeed “forced to join”. The appalling Ted Heath took us in without seeking any authority from the voters at all.

          • G Wilson
            Posted August 22, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard:

            You can’t have voted for any such such thing in 1975, since the EU didn’t even exist until 1992.

            Had people been told in 1975 that the EEC would be replaced by the EU, the outcome would probably have been very different.

            Our consent was not asked for, and was not given, for joining the EU when it was created.

            When we were finally asked, we said no, four times. We voted for a referendum in 2015. We voted to leave in 2016. We voted to leave by backing Brexit parties in 2017, and again in 2019. If we are asked a fifth time, the answer will still be “Leave”, and may well be accompanied by “…and since you lot can’t do it, PM Farage can”.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Sir John…..good question. Does anybody on here understand where he is coming from? However there are dozens who know where he should go!
        Just a sad bitter man who probably sulked in the playground ‘cos the other boys didn’t want to play with him. He never got over it.

      • Andy
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        I live freedom. The freedom to live, love, work and study in 31 counties which you are taking away from us. Why do you all find that freedom so offensive? Is it because you don’t like foreigners? And which foreigners do you not like? I’m guess it is not primarily the white, Christian, European ones.

        As for self-government – we are a self-governing country. The entire mess we are in was created here by a small bunch of no-knowing Conservatives. Brexit wasn’t imposed on it. It was sold by a bunch of snake oil salesmen. Some would argue that most of these snake men (and they are most men) were evil. Some clearly were. But then I look at most of the ranting Tory loons and realise that the real problem is that most of them are in safe seats and are just a bit dim.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          I can agree that in all parties there are MPs in safe seats (but maybe for not much longer) who appear dim or ranting. They don’t seem to live in the world Joe Public inhabits. This removed from reality is a hallmark of being in politics too long. Views are formed and coerced within the party heirarchy. It is as much to do with ensuring voters continue to support the party line, rather than campaigning for what are priorities and need to be done. The 2 major parties do not look even close to what they were 20, 30, 40 years ago. Identity change might be permanent.

        • Jiminyjim
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          Do at least TRY, Andy, to maintain some semblance of truth and accuracy in what you write. We are NOT losing the freedom to live, love, work and study in EU countries. We may simply have to go through modest paperwork to do so, as you would to do these things in the USA. My parents and grandparents did these things decades before the EU was first thought of.

        • Julie Williams
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

          Have you not considered the possibility that you can still have all of these things if the country of your choice wants you?
          Long before the EU, British soldiers came back from guarding the Est German border with German brides.
          Unfortunately there has been from too much hyperbole and hysteria around Brexit.

        • Susan W
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          What you say does not bear scrutiny. I studied in Spain and later worked there before ever it joined the EU. I had the freedom to live love, study and work abroad without any EU involvement. My Arab boyfriend and I hitch hiked around Spain and crossed the border into Portugal on foot. No white, Christian, European he. Unfortunately we had to walk right back into Spain as he, not I, would have needed a prior visa to cross into Portugal. He was very envious of my blue passport which afforded me easy entry to many countries. I later travelled to Algeria, without the need for a visa. My university flat mates spent the last long summer vacation before graduation touring the USA. So they needed a visa – so what? They got one. One of them, a student of Russian, had previously spent 3 months in Leningrad as part of her degree course. No EU involvement there either My nephew now lives, loves and runs his own business in Singapore. There is a whole world out there and life is good outside the EU if you have a modicum of initiative.

        • NickC
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Andy, The price of your “freedom” is the destruction of another man’s right to decide who, and how many, comes into his nation. The EU stole that right from us. After Brexit you may still have the freedom you so desire. But, it will be subject to whether Italy, for example, wants you.

          In the EU, the UK is not self-governing. Declaration 17 of the Lisbon treaty states unequivocally that EU law has primacy over UK law. We are governed by the EU. You have been told this endlessly, yet you still won’t take it in. Is that because you are just a bit dim?

        • Robert mcdonald
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          I used to travel in Europe before 1975, with no restrictions. Why should that be different unless the eurocrats want reject my money and make travel difficult .. note, not impossible .. even they can’t do that.

      • bill brown
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Sir JR,

        your reply to Andy is interesting, yes self government makes sense. But was has leaving the EU got to do with freedom. Does that mean that Germans and the Danes are not free because they are members of the EU?

        Reply Belonging to the EU means national voters and their governments do surrender freedoms to choose their laws and tax themselves

        • bill brown
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          Sir Jr,

          Yes I agree with that answer but you did not actually answer my question?

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply

          Does that mean that the whole of Europe is taxed the same way? And that their laws outside those affecting EU membership are subject to EU scrutiny? That’s new to me.

      • tim
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Preferably we should leave BEFORE October 31st.

      • graham1946
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Why exactly are we waiting? The EU has said it will not open the WA or agree to FTA. Therefore what are we waiting for? Is 31st October set in stone for leaving legally or can we not go earlier? I’d say lets go end of next week, before the loonies in Parliament get back and try again to stymie Brexit.

        • Andy
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          There are questions about the legality of the 31st October date. It really is time Boris abrogated the evil May’s Withdrawal Agreement and set a Leaving date.

        • McBryde
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          NICE one, Graham. Let’s do it!

        • Hez
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Didn’t we actually legally leave in March? So presumably Boris could say to the EU just give us a good trading deal now or I will back date our leaving date and we are gone.
          Also it is not a Withdrawal Agreement or a deal it is an International Treaty that we cannot walk away from at a later date or the EU as we will be chained to them forever in a very bad way. It is bound in leather as a fait accompli. Did our ex PM sign it in our name already on the assumption we would all be too stupid to notice its trip wires? I would really like to know the answer to that one.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        ABSOLUTELY! why does Boris not use an SI to change the ‘exit date’? Mrs May did, unilaterally.
        Boris is a Remainer let’s face it.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink


          I’m not 100% sure of what happened in the lead up to 29th March…

          It was my understanding the the Original UK Parliamentary Withdrawal Act said something like “the leaving date is the date determined by Article 50” which was originally March 29th. When this was changed by the EU to either April or May the October as an “International Treaty” it meant the the UK automatically followed this. Subsequently Parliament voted on a SI which was said to “just tidy up UK law” !!!

          Where does this leave 31st October?

          If the EU change the leaving date of Article 50 does the UK automatically follow this again?

          Have we actually left the EU as maintained by the currently in progress court case?

          May be somebody could clarify….

          • Carolyn
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            For answers to your questions see Robin Tilbrook’s website and his Twitter feed..

      • Fred H
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        my continuing thoughts exactly.

    • James1
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      “To a Leaver the WA is not Brexit….”. That’s putting it mildly. If Mr Johnson thinks that just removing the backstop makes the putrid WA acceptable and will suffice, he is in monumental danger of consigning the Conservative party to oblivion. The electorate knew what they were voting for, and know when they are not getting what they voted for. No amount of spin or subterfuge will save the Conservative Party at the next election if Brexit is not delivered. The vote was to Leave. Independence is required, indeed demanded, and a pretend Brexit will not suffice.

      • NickC
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        James1, That is absolutely correct. It is only a few shouty Remains who did not know what we Leaves voted for.

      • McBryde
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I think that all they have now is Project Fear. Watch out – it’ll probably get a lot worse yet…. Then they hope we’ll be begging for a referendum.

        I hope the British people are wise enough now not to let distorted facts and endless fear inducing news articles and comments change their minds.

      • Nigel
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        Absolutely right. Sir John, please keep his feet to the fire!

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink


      I agree, just playing with the backstop does not make the W/A acceptable at all.

      This was certainly the one reason why I was worried about Boris, and was not sure to be able to trust him fully on Brexit.

      He has started well, but if he only wants rid of the backstop, then the Brexit Party will eventually clean up.

      Boris and the Conservative Party need to face facts, we exit fully and properly and actually take back control fully or the conservatives are toast.

      Achieve a proper Brexit and the Conservative s will form the next government but only if they can agree a plan with the Brexit Part, and thus not split the vote.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      There is no time machine, to take the UK and Europe back to nineteen seventy-three, before the European Union existed, and prior to the UK’s developing a myriad of intricate commercial and financial ties with it worth about four hundred billion pounds per year in revenues (FullFact).

      Some people need to realise this.

      And that’s only money. There are more important things too.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        That’s a very interesting revelation Martin.
        For decades EU fans like you told us that the UK only had an involvement in what was just a trading bloc of friendly nations.

        Yet now we get told by you that the UK is involved in “a myriad of intricate commercial and financial ties” apart from ” more important things too”

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

          The European Union is utterly unprecedented as a peace project.

          It is the most enlightened, civilised undertaking, that this tragically war-stricken planet has ever seen.

          That you should vote against – and ideally destroy it – it says a great deal about you.

          • What Tiler
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            That you can make such a ridiculous statement with an apparently straight face, says rather more about you.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

            The srcond world war stopped in 1945
            The EU started in 1993
            NATO with the nuclear deterrents of the UK and America kept the peace post 1945.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

            I have no wish to destroy the EU as you ridiculously claim.
            I hope the EU reforms and is a success.
            I think they will be happier without the UK and the UK will be happier out of the EU.

          • tim
            Posted August 24, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            The European Union is utterly unprecedented as a peace project.

            It is the most enlightened, civilised undertaking, that this tragically war-stricken planet has ever seen.

            That you should vote against – and ideally destroy it – it says a great deal about you.


      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Martin, The self-serving “fact” checkers are nothing of the sort. They peddle propaganda. Usually by making unspoken assumptions that are not justified. I am surprised that you are so gullible to believe them.

        Check the Pink Book Current Account Summary (9.1) latest edition (new one due Oct 2019). Making an allowance for the “Rotterdam effect”, UK exports to the EU of goods and services is under £250bn. Nothing like your fake “£400bn”. Ownership of assets overseas is not part of trade, is not covered by the WTO, but is subject to the laws of the land, whether the USA, or Spain. So Brexit is irrelevant to those assets and their earnings.

        And that’s only money. There are more important things too, such as freedom and independence.

      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        There are 2 important things, national sovereignty and self-determination. Nothing is more important than these 2 things.

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink


          And they have been missing for the last 50 years? Not something I noticed. I am surprised that British voters were too blind to see what had happened during all that time.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

            The voters opened up their eyes in 2016.

      • tim
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink


    • Butties
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      JK, What makes you think we owe them anything?

      Let’s see the balance sheet for any financial settlement before agreeing anything.

      The Swiss method of holding referendums on important issues is a model which we should strive to adopt, given the eye opening modus operandi of Parliament that has been exposed.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        Little point when the Parliament tells us we are too thick to decide, they will for us!

    • GilesB
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      I am now of the view that we don’t need an FTA with the EU.

      We trade with the EU and China without one.

      The EU doesn’t believe in free trade. It is a protectionist block. Such as FTAs as it does have are protectionist. And full of irrelevancies promoting its own agenda.

      • GilesB
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:04 am | Permalink

        We trade with the US and China without one.

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      I read it as the PM saying to the EU he would negotiate AN agreement without the backstop, not THE agreement. This could mean an FTA without the backstop. Starting with the backstop in front of the cameras makes diplomatic sense. It wouldn’t make sense to tell them to go whistle at this stage.

  2. Know-Dice
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Michael Portillo & Alan Johnson believe that Boris will go for minor tweaks to the dWA

    I hope they are both wrong…

    • Rhoddas
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Listening to the Cleverly interview today on Sky News (not so cleverly imho) the Tories under Boris look still hell bent on accepting the rest of the putrid WA even though it’s all ANTI-DEMOCRATIC as we would have the Eur39bn AND continue to pay in AND accept EU laws/rules, ALL without representation, all until the EU ok an FTA, which is blindingly obvious they never will. So where is the commonsense in that, never mind the complete disregard of business sense?

      Certainly that’s the strong impression from listening to ‘not so’ Cleverly and Boris’ letter is silent on the rest of the WA! Getting more like Dumber and Dumber …. Nigel must hold their feet to the fire!!

    • MPC
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Yes that’s the fear of many of us. All the EC has to do by early October is vaguely suggest further discussion and the forces of Remain pressure Johnson into more negotiations being vital via a further extension of Article 50. At least we’ll be out of our misery by 31 October as an extension then surely = no Brexit.

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Know-Dice, I too pray that Boris does not go for a tweaked dWA. As Rhoddas and MPC say it is all looking decidedly dodgy with Boris talking about remaining in the CU and SM, and only looking to remove the “backstop”. Boris is the last hope for the survival of the Conservative party. Surely Tory MPs don’t really think they can have one more go at hoodwinking us?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Then Boris will be another in a long line of failed Conservatives. Hated and nobody will ever vote for him, nor want him in any official capacity.

    • Les
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      I think it is central to almost any matter these months: Will Boris avoid the EU-ECJ, EU-CU, EU-SM as well as the EU-backstop, EU-WA, EU-PD…?
      Will this question be asked loudly and clearly until we get an answer???
      BTW – if the EU think they are going to start to agree to some of these things at the last minute – part of the negotiations should be that they pay for our unnecessary No-Deal preparations.
      AND the UK gets money back for its investments in the EU these last decades… the list goes on.
      If Boris does not deliver a true, clean Brexit then he and the faux-Conservatives deserve all that is coming to them.

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    This is becoming absurd. How many times have we been told by Boris Johnson and other senior Conservative politicians that the WA is dead? Then he writes a letter to Tusk which reads as though, without the backstop, the WA is acceptable. Are we to endure more duplicity and mendacity as we had to under Mrs May? I have asked myself if this letter is a cunning ploy which he knows will be unacceptable to the EU and will lead to leaving on WTO terms but I am not convinced. I am more inclined to think that Mrs May’s wretched WA is alive and well and Boris Johnson is desperately trying to find a way of bringing it back and getting it through the Commons with support from opposition parties. He has offered nothing but fudge to replace the backstop and no other initiatives.
    The Brexit Party still has my support and vote.

    • Carolyn
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      I would like to see Boris Johnson do a Facebook-live series where he dissects the WA point by point and explains why it is unacceptable. It seems a lot of people are *still* unaware of the many traps it contains. I would then have more confidence that Boris really does regard it as ‘dead’ and will not be bringing it back for a Parliamentary vote.

      • dixie
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Wasn’t the Attorney General supposed to have done that some months ago.

        • Pete S
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

          The AG only commented on the backstop. He has NEVER commented on the WA as a whole. He should do it as the WA is a capitulation treaty.

        • Carolyn
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Yes, the AG was supposed to provide the FULL legal advice on the WA, not just that which refers to the backstop, but he has still not done so. That neither Boris nor the rest of the ERG has re-raised the issue and insisted on it makes me very suspicious that we are being stitched up – again…

    • cynic
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Is Boris stupid enough to bring the W A back to the Commons for them to vote on it again? It would mean losing control of events in Parliament and anything could happen.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        James Cleverly suggested he would do just that without the backstop on radio 4 Today programme this morning and they’re looking for support from opposition parties to get it through..

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Why should the Government control the UK’s sovereign parliament?

        Do you not understand where sovereignty lies in its Constitution?

        Apparently not.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          Neither do you Martin.
          The Government led by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are in charge.
          Until Parliament votes against them in a vote of confidence.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

            Read up.

        • NickC
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          Martin, It is you who does not understand. In a democracy, such as the UK’s, sovereignty resides with the people. Democracy comes from demos = people, and kratos = power, so “people power”. MPs are merely our elected (temporary) representatives, and hence over ruled by the 2016 national Referendum.

    • Kevin Ward
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      This is exactly the fear that I have.

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson, It does begin to look like yet another betrayal. Really, why do these self-proclaimed intelligent people have such trouble with the simple English word “leave”?

  4. Dominic
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I did think Johnson would introduce a radical change in direction. After the last days it seems this may prove to be a forlorn hope.

    We can but put our faith in moral Tory Eurosceptics to do the right thing. Moreover, hope the BP is able to usurp Labour in the north and at last persuade traditional, decent folk that the party they have always voted for (Labour) died in the 1970’s

    Keep up the pressure John.

    Thanks for your efforts

  5. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Our leaving the EU with ‘No Deal’ on October 31st would be the happiest day of my life. The intransigence of the EU shows its contempt for the democratic process. I hope that this is now swaying some Remainiac opinion on the Conservative benches.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      The European Union has done all that is possible under the terms of the Treaties. If it offered the UK what it asked then it would have compromised the whole basis of the Single Market, the Customs Union and more besides, as well as abrogating its responsibilities as an upholder of the Good Friday Agreement.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        It agreed a trading relationship recently with Japan and Canada without compromising the whole basis….et al

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

          They were not asking for what the UK seeks to continue.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

            They get trade without open borders, no legal supremacy of the EU over them and without paying tens of billions a year.
            If we had the same arrangement as Japan and Canada I would be happy.

        • Terry
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

          Japan and Canada have no land border with the EU. The UK does. You need to take Irelandn seriously

          • Edward2
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            I do .
            But as both the UK and the Republic of Ireland have said they will not build a hard border who is?

          • tim
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink


      • dixie
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:49 am | Permalink

        It hasn’t done everything possible – it could have offered a CETA like FTA which recognised the sovereignty of the UK. Instead it chose to try and disrupt internal UK structure and seek total control over our affairs.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          No, it could have done vastly more without May’s frankly idiotic Red Lines.

          • dixie
            Posted August 22, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            EU bureaucrats collude with pro-EU civil servants and politicians to formulate an unbelievable pro-EU plan and construct an idiotic pro-EU proposition.

            the red lines were merely an idiotic bow around a package of deceit and betrayal.

        • Terry
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          The good friday agreement makes clear that northern ireland is not an internal UK matter. Didnt you realise the UK already accepted that?

          • dixie
            Posted August 22, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            Are you saying that Northern Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom?

      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        So we’re agreed. It is the sclerotic structure of the EU and it’s basic inflexibility which is at the root of the present predicament. Cutting the Gordion knot would seem to be the solution.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior

      “The intransigence of the EU shows its contempt for the democratic process.”

      We’ve just had a prime minister foisted on us by an overweening tory establishment so can hardly accuse others of showing contempt for democracy.

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Margaret Howard, It is still a Conservative government which is what we elected in 2017. We have not elected the EU government at all.

      • Robert mcdonald
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        And the remoaners in chief along with the Corbyn opportunists are proposing a GNU … where would be the democracy in that.

  6. nhsgp
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    80 billion pounds a year, rising over time.

    The cost of May’s deal.

    It’s simple, just walk away.

    Remember, like net and gross, there’s a difference between cost and payments. Direct payments are just on of the costs.

    That’s why Johnson is worrying. He paid £28,000 per Boris bike, so clearly doesn’t understand value

  7. Carolyn
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    All the while that the EU believe that the Remain faction will ultimately succeed in securing a second referendum or the revocation of article 50 they will continue to refuse to budge. If, however, the Prime Minister were to drop the defence of the Robin Tilbrook case then we would be out of the EU and they would have no option but to negotiate.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:05 pm | Permalink


      Sorry to disappoint you about our importance to the EU. Quite frankly most of them can’t wait to be rid of us having grown tired of our demands and antics.

      In the words of Oliver Cromwell: For gods sake go now!

      • Pete S
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        So why are they demanding £39B danegeld. Don’t come back with we owe the money, the AG said in Parl. There is no EU law that says we have to pay anything other than our statutory annual contribution.

      • Carolyn
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I don’t agree – they may not like *us*, but they cannot afford to lose our large annual financial contribution…or for us to be successful outside the EU, hence the demand that we sign up to the WA, which keeps us under their control *forever*, with no means of exit..

        • margaret howard
          Posted August 22, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink


          They were successful before we joined – that’s why we begged to join and ditched our own trading blocs of EFTA and the commonwealth.

      • Al
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        “Sorry to disappoint you about our importance to the EU. Quite frankly most of them can’t wait to be rid of us having grown tired of our demands and antics.”

        That makes it sound rather as though the majority of the EU wants us out, the majority of the UK wants to leave, and there’s a small group of British politicians and civil servants who are trying to block it.

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Margaret Howard, Yes, the demands for freedom and the antics for independence must be very tiresome for your EU cronies. If only we could go now!

      • tim
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink


    • tim
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      BREXIT BETRAYAL BORRIS, TREASON MAY,what will we call the next quisling?

  8. Atlas
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I agree John – the whole WA is terrible and keeps us in the shackles of the EU. For example: We should be able to set our own standards.

    Just removing the NI bear trap is simply not enough.

  9. Steve Reay
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that Brussels always appears to win the propagander war of Brexit no matter what we say. Has Boris blinked?or is he playing a canny game? He’ll look as foolish a May if he doesn’t deliver.

    It was bad timing to suggest the other day about increasing the retirement age to 75, not a good way of getting the young or even older people on board prior to an election.

    Reply That was a think tank, not the government

    • Stephen Reay
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I believe IDS was in this think tank. i.e represents the government.

      Reply IDS is not in the government! This is not government policy

  10. James Bertram
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    There is more discussion of this subject on the BrexitFacts4EU website today (see link opposite).

  11. Andy
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Except the WA is Brexit. Not fantasy side of a bus Brexit. It is reality Brexit. Rubbish, isn’t it? But, too bad. You are not allowed to change you mind.

    Mostly I find it amusing that the Tory Europhobes hate something they have spent their lives campaigning for.

    And we will spend the rest of their lives pointing out how they have sold out their country to subservience.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      We are allowed to change our minds.
      Except we know the the Withdrawal Agreement is hated by most voters and by a majority in Parliament.
      Leaving in 31st October is therefore the inevitable outcome as the EU refuses to budge.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Brexit as negotiated by a Remainer.

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Andy, So you’ve still not read the dWA? If you had you would know that neither New Zealand nor Canada, for example, is subject to the treaty requirements inherent in the dWA. Brexit means being outside of the EU, just as those two nations are. In that way we will escape the subservience you crave.

    • jerry
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      @Andy; “Mostly I find it amusing that the Tory Europhobes.”

      Whilst many find it rather hypocritical that the europhile left now love something many spent their formative political lives campaigning against, had Jacques Delors in 1988, in an address to the UK TUC, not promised to protect UK Trade Unions rights Labour would have been as eurosceptic as Mrs Thatcher later became, although ‘That speech’ of hers might have had one less No! in it…

      “sold out their country to subservience.”

      Err, that is what some, in increasing numbers, have been pointing out since 1971. First about the UK’s probably membership of the EEC, as a continued member of the EEC, a member of the EU and as a signatory of the Lisbon treaty. Subservience is what we have now, whilst the WA brings even greater subservience because we will have to take EU laws that we have no say in making, perhaps until 2099.

      Don’t believe me, read the (Ex summaries of) the WA, and then do the same with the Treaties of the EEC/EU from the TFEU trough to the Treaty of Lisbon.

      Subservience is what YOU want from the UK “Andy”, not the Brexiteers.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Andy – as you can probably read (and I don’t think there are too many big words) try and read ALL through the WA. Try to see through the fog of your adoration for the EU, and be objective (forlorn hope, I suppose). Even a remainer can’t wish for this sort of ‘attachment’ to the EU.

      And then tell us why we should wish to remain tied if this WA were in place.

      • Andy
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        I have read the WA. It is a very big, weight document full of legalese. When the Brexit Secretary was asked five not particularly technical questions about it he got four of them wrong.

        The WA is Brexit. It is rubbish. We told you Brexit would be rubbish. We were right. So now you all thrash about and blame everyone else for the fact that you were wrong. Sorry guys – this is all on you.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

          WA claims to be about withdrawal, yet it isn’t. It extends and punishes. Brexit was ‘ to be discussed’ in the PD. We never got that far!

        • Pete S
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Seeing as you agree the WA is rubbish. Why would you want to belong to a body that is prepared to impose such a cr ap deal on us.

        • NickC
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Andy, How is being in a “single customs territory” (dWA) with the EU, equivalent to leaving the EU’s customs union?

  12. Richard1
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    it seems to me that measures which are temporary – such as the ECJ having a right of interference over certain issues for some years – or the payment of a bung, could be worth it for an amicable settlement.

    What is clearly not acceptable – and far inferior to straight remain, as you say – is the backstop which keeps us in the customs union and much of the single market indefinitely, unless released by kind permission of the EU. Furthermore, there is language in the political declaration agreed by Mrs May that the future relationship will also build on the customs union! i.e. the EU would presumably be entitled to say in the negotiations on the future relationship that if we did want a Canada+ type deal, ie out of the CU and SM, then we have breached the intent of the political declaration – and so must stay in the backstop.

    It is incredible that any ministers and civil servants would ever have wanted to put the Country in such a diabolical position of subservience.

    For my part I would greatly prefer to see Brexit abandoned and the UK simply to remain a full EU member than for any such permanent vassalage to be agreed to.

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Richard1, The EU making the UK a colony is not “amicable”. We have 47 years of experience showing that the EU is a corrupt, vindictive, self-serving, creepy, power-grabbing ideology. The EU will always make sure we lose out in any agreement. Therefore the fewer, and more minor, the agreements are, the better.

      • bill brown
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink


        here is not ideology behind the EU as you state

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      Oops! I don’t want the “spanner in the works” to remain! Why not first leave, then as a country try to find unity and then in future see if a majority prefers to return as member or

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        PvL, We don’t admire “unity”; we find it creepy.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          You don’t admire anything of virtue, Nick.

          Your cynicism has made you blind to it.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The Withdrawal Agreement without the backstop is still a truly appalling Treaty.

    Indeed far, far worse than just leaving.

  14. Richard1
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Prof Bogdanor makes an interesting theory. If there is an election in November and a remain supporting govt wins, the new UK govt and the EU could simply agree retrospectively that Brexit never happened on Oct 31. If this is right – and Prof Bogdanor is an expert in this area – it means a Nov election would become a new referendum. Since we need a general election anyway before Boris can actually govern, perhaps this is the way through. If the Country supports Brexit we will be out and Boris returned with a big majority. If not then some other govt will be cobbled together which might revoke ex post.

    Those hoping Corbyn might do this will however be in for a shock. Mr Corbyn has been one of the most anti-EU MPs from the beginning. and with good reason. his confiscatory extreme socialist policies aren’t permitted under EU law (one of the strongest arguments for Remain I found).

    • Fred H
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      A November election still might result in PM Farage. I am starting to worry about Boris, and I never thought I could want it, but Farage might bring all this devious, deceitful MP, media and Civil Service goings-on to an end.

      Does Boris not understand that he is ONLY there because he looked to be the best bet to get us OUT. If he falters we will want HIM out.

      • Richard1
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        That is a ridiculous fantasy! There are two possible PMs following the next general election – Boris or Corbyn. Anyone not voting Conservative in a seat where a Conservative has a chance is voting for Corbyn (who would probably deliver an especially unstatis Brino rather than Remain, along with Venezuela type policies and the purposeful dismemberment of the UK in league with Sinn Fein and the SNP.)

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:09 pm | Permalink


        ” If he falters we will want HIM out.”

        How? We had no voice to him HIM IN.

        • NickC
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, The success of the Brexit party at the EU elections (even though MEPs have next to no power) frightened the Conservative party enough to make them oust Theresa May. So, yes, we certainly did have a say in replacing the Tory PM.

          You are the one who wants the UK to be a province of the EU empire; I want independence. You don’t get to elect the EU government; and you cannot hold it to account. You can do both in the UK.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Boris’ letter is weak. He talked tough a while ago but is changing his tune. He’s going to sell us out and you too Sir John as you said you supported him because you believed he’d get us out.

    Never trust any Tory, it is always party first.

    Reply He has promised to get us out so lets see what happens next

    • graham1946
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Didn’t you say something similar about Mrs. May and supporting her?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Let us hope he will deliver. It seems to me that with Brexit in the wings he has little choice. Unless that is he wants to bury the Conservative Party, be a very short lived PM and to be held in similar contempt to that of John Major and Theresa May for the rest of his life.

    • zorro
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – I remember you saying that before of T May – let’s hope Groundhog Day doesn’t strike again!!


  16. Peter
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Slowly, slowly catchy monkey?

    The backstop is the most talked about hurdle. Maybe Boris wants that gone first. Then other problems can be tackled.

    Boris might want to make a show of engaging with the EU, so that when they are obstructive he can say that he tried to strike a deal but the EU were too obstinate.

    • Oxiana321
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      For now, I am inclined to agree with this interpretation of events. I cannot believe that the Government would be so stupid as to resurrect any part of the WA, knowing full well that this would certainly mean the end of the Conservative Party. There are many long-standing supporters of the party (the bedrock) out there who would walk away for ever if this were to be the outcome.

    • jerry
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      @Peter; “Maybe Boris wants [the backstop] gone first. Then other problems can be tackled.”

      Surely the backstop is the biggest EU red line, once the removal of the backstop is (formally) rejected the road is clear for a WTO exit at 23:00hrs Oct 31 2019.

      There are plenty of red lines that could be moved or scrubbed out, on both sides, perhaps even the EU allowing the signing of third country trade deals between them and the UK before we actually leave, but solving those red lines would increase the likely-hood of a BRINO, and might actually increase the likelihood of the backstop remaining…

    • Andrea Wood
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Seriously? We kidded ourselves that this was May’s plan until she completely screwed us over and now Boris is doing the same. The Tories are utter charlatans when it comes to Brexit (present company excepted Sir John)

      • Peter
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        This is a reasonable response. Boris does tell people what they wish to hear.

        However, he is not as stupid as Mrs.May and he has more awareness of the public mood.

        That said, we still need to see how it plays out.

      • tim
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        OR IS HE?

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Surely Boris is not going to attempt another betrayal in the Theresa May manner is he? The government must surely realise that the Brexit party will kill any chance of a Conservative majority ever again if he attempts this.

  18. Cees
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    John- by way of correction- 0Mantras come from your side- in particular from yourself. Here I would remind you of a few things- that the UK is leaving the EU and not the other way round- secondly there will be no reopening of the WA and if you leave 31st Oct without it then its terms will still be there waiting. So no FTA without the WA. You guys have dug yourselves into a big hole and am afraid that nobody on this side has much sympathy for you

    Reply No hole. I always said I was happy to leave without a WA

    • NickC
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Cees, With your hostile attitude do you wonder at our leaving? Personally I do not want either a WA or an RTA, because the EU cannot be trusted.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Being happy to be in a hole doesn’t mean that there is no hole though, does it John?

      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        No one has actually said they were happy to be in a hole or that we were in a hole.
        More fake news and made up comments from you Martin.

    • stred
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Oh Christ, Dutch flowers and cheese will be too expensive for my wife to waste her money on.

  19. TomTomTom
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Tusk has rejected Borris proposal. So no renegotiation = no deal.

    So now what? How will the Remain based forces in Parliament take control of the process? And if they do, what will they do?

    It’s all going to get very messy!

    Funny old world. If Gina Miller had lost her case PM May would have just been able to sign-off the WA without a care in the world.

    Reply No, the WA always needed an Act of Parliament to confirm it

    • rose
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      If Gina Miller had lost her case, Mrs May might not have tried to increase her majority and then lost it. She wouldn’t then have lost Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, acquiring instead a group of remainiacs at the heart of government. Lancaster House, despite the mention of an implementation period, might have flourished instead of being replaced by Florence and the December Joint Report. We did, however, gain the DUP – except they would have been there anyway without an election.

  20. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I assume he thinks he has to at least try to renegotiate the WA to spike the guns of some of the less fundamentalist Remainers in parliament when it is once again the EU who refuse to change any of their red lines. The fundamentalist Remainiacs are of course actively working to ensure the EU does indeed reject the PM’s offer by indicating to them they can block a WTO exit anyway so the EU does not need to negotiate.

  21. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I see that the Daily Mail is reporting support for a ‘No Deal’ exit is now at 48%! Perhaps we could persuade more if the arrangements of our exit from the EIB were given a greater airing.

  22. Shirley
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    The WA is NOT Brexit, with or without the backtop.

    I do fear that the Remainers will accept the WA (with or without the backstop), if the only alternative is a ‘no deal’ exit. If Boris wants to please Remainers rather than Brexiters then he is heading the right way!

  23. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Oh, please! Just throw the entire Withdrawal Agreement in the bin, lock stock and barrel. A managed ‘No Deal’ is better by a country mile. We don’t want a transition period, we don’t want to pay a big exit fee, we don’t want a partnership with the EU, we just want a divorce so that we can get on with governing our own country in our own way.

    I must take you to task over the way that you want to boost the UK economy. So many of the measures you and other Conservatives propose involve increased public expenditure, both capital and current. Yet it is obvious that the private sector is crying out for capital investment to take advantage of the opportunities created by Brexit – investment in innovation, in production for export to non-EU countries, in import substitution measures and in overseas marketing. Unless we are to run a huge borrowing requirement, public sector investments rob the private sector of capital.

    Government borrowing can be made in 3 ways, as old as time:
    – Borrow abroad
    – Borrow at home
    – Print the money

    Borrowing abroad is expensive. Experience has shown that UK citizens are least willing to lend to government when the borrowing requirement is high. Printing the money causes inflation and civil strife. So lots of government borrowing is bad news.

    You recently ran a mini-survey on where your readers would like to see public expenditure cuts. The items chosen were fairly small beer. Little about downsizing the role of the State, I am afraid. Nothing about getting rid of regulators, creating privatised regional rail companies requiring zero taxpayer funding, getting a grip on the huge sums spent on the retired elderly etc etc.

    Reply PLease try reading what we write. I identified £15bn of EU contributions we will save. Others proposed cancelling HS2 and large cuts in overseas aid. This adds up to a lot of money

    • Fred H
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply …..and we need a lot of money to address the growing list of things which need to be put right.

  24. Diane
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I tend to agree with Brian’s comments above. I too fear that the W A is still alive & well. It was my understanding that the PM had given assurances to MPs / Cabinet members that the WA was considered dead. JRM I recall confirmed that this was the case when asked by journalists that very question & stated their trust was in Boris not to sway from that. All media reports of the PM’s statements display no evidence that he considers this to be the case. All that is being mentioned is the Backstop. Let’s wait & see what emerges over the coming week. I for one am again losing faith ….. As a Conservative voter I voted BP in the EU elections & may have to do so again though that in itself is fraught with danger… Still… I continue to try to be positive. But all this just leaves one feeling helpless. Our country deserves better.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Boris agreed it was dead back in June – see the website

      Has he changed so much since he ‘came to power’?

      • Fred H
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        I hope he is ONLY playing games to thwart the H of C and ensure we do what we said and Leave – Oct 31st at the LATEST.

  25. Alan Joyce
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    If the removal of the backstop or alternative arrangements for dealing with it are the full extent of the Government’s ambitions for reforming the Withdrawal Agreement, then your Party has no future.

    Would Mr. Johnson really bring back the WA minus the backstop and try to get it through Parliament on the back of Labour votes?

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose!

    Reply MY advice to him is not to do that. On one interpretation of his position dropping the backstop is a precondition for talks to revise the WA

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      No other revision to WA was mentioned by James Cleverly on Radio 4 Today programme this morning.

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        James Cleverly is not the PM and certainly not as clever as Boris Johnson.

        Boris asked for the bare minimum required to restart talks and they flatly refused. Boris set the trap and the fools walked into it.
        WTO here we come (and I’m very pleased about it).

        • Pominoz
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:53 am | Permalink

          I would love to think you are right. Boris is not thick and, for the time being, I (perhaps later proven stupidly) am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

          If he does let us down, he and the whole Conservative Party are toast.

        • Bob
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          @’None of the above’

          “Boris asked for the bare minimum required to restart talks and they flatly refused.”

          No, they didn’t flatly refuse, what they actually said was: “the new United Kingdom government does not provide any concrete proposals”…

          “…the Commission stand ready to work constructively within our mandate”

          in other words “let’s talk”.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            Well that is wrong Bob.
            Boris plainly said the main problem was the NI backstop which had to go.
            That was the “concrete proposal” which these quotes of yours should be read.

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Sir John, regarding ‘talks to revise the WA’, the only revision needed is to put the WA soundly in the bin. You know that. We know that. So, how are you going to get your message through to those that run your party? Perhaps your resigning from the Tory Party and joining the Brexit Party might just about give them the kick up the backside they need, and thoroughly deserve?

    • matthu
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Surely any attempt to put WA 2 before the House would allow an opportunity for Remainers to remove No Deal from the table as they did before?

    • Kevin Lohse
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Sir John. I found Boris’ letter a consummate exercise in dynamic procrastination. Like you, I felt that the letter offered further talks on the rejected WA after the backstop was removed. I’m not really surprised at Tusk’s response.

  26. tim
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    A big enough bribe for himself, to sell this country as a vassel state, you can not trust Tories. Come on Nigel We need you, and we need a general election.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Nigel Farage is quite happy making paper planes and flicking food – metaphorically of course – in the European Union’s parliament for around a hundred thousand euros plus expenses a year.

      He doesn’t mind waffling on the radio, or making a few soundbites here and there, but he would buckle at the workload of any politician with genuine responsibilities.

      • What Tiler
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

        He didn’t form a new party and win the European elections in less than three weeks by sitting on his aris. Fool.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

          It has none of the machinery of a normally-functioning political party.

          It is mainly a publicity firm.

          • What Tiler
            Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            He still didn’t get it out of a cornflake’s packet, spent quite a lot of time holding, packed, hustings the length and breadth of the country, and won more seats in the Europarl than any other party Europe-wide; constantly moving the goalposts makes you look an even bigger fool. Fool.

      • NickC
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Martin, You have no actual knowledge of Nigel Farage’s workload. By pretending you do, you simply show how silly you are.

  27. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Signing the WA even without the backstop is saying to the EU that the UK can’t cope without the EU. Our prospects for a mutual trade agreement will be severely restricted.
    Furthermore, all the countries outside of the EU who show themselves favourable to a trade agreement will have lost patience if the UK remains tied to the CU.
    If Boris gets us out properly on Oct 31st, goodbye Brexit Party. If we’re still in by means of the WA, he shouldn’t rely on winning a General Election should one be called.

  28. bill brown
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    As long as their is till time, we can hopefully find a solution for all parties concerned.

    Did I understand you correctly that Boris would not be flying to the EU capitals for more negotiations?

    Reply I think you may have read that somewhere but it turns out not to be the case

    • Fred H
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Is he borrowing a private jet from some wealthy popstar, or is he using a jet from the RAF? I suggest one of our pilots is joined by Boris in an F35 to arrive in a German military airfield in style!

  29. Original Richard
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    As predicted by Yanis Varoufakis the EU has said they await our PM’s ideas for “alternative arrangements” to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

    It should be the other way round as it is the EU which is treaty bound to conclude a deal acceptable to both parties.

    The Lisbon Treaty Article 50 paragraph 2 states :

    …..“In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union….”

    Unsurprisingly the EU are quite happy to break their own treaty.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      And take a look at Article 8.

      • Original Richard
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Sea Warrior,

        You’re right, the EU are not abiding to their Lisbon Treaty Article 8 either.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      This is civil law. There is an implied codicil to every term which is “as far as reasonably possible”

      In any case it has done that. The constitutional problems of that State in keeping to what was negotiated and agreed are not European Union concerns, being outside of the Lisbon Treaty.

      If you wanted to argue against that, well, in what court would you do so?


      • Edward2
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        You are quite obviously not a lawyer Martin.
        Your first sentence is nonsense.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

          The Law Commission was quite happy with the work that I did for them

      • Original Richard
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Both the UK and Southern Ireland have committed to not having a “hard” (that is checks at the border) border.

        In fact Mr. Juncker himself on a visit to Southern Ireland said the EU would not introduce a hard border even if the UK left with “no deal” (WTO terms).

        The integrity of the SM is a problem for the EU and not the UK and it is for the EU to solve this problem with Southern Ireland.

  30. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    That is a really pertinent point- Using Boolean logic…..

    If the current agreement is not acceptable to parliament AND the EU won’t make any changes or compromises……. THEN

    There really is no need for Parliament to be involved any more with the process of leaving ….

    • Fred H
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Bryan …or to drop back into COBOL…..

      If the current agreement is not acceptable to parliament AND the EU won’t make any changes or compromises……. THEN perform Leave-EU-END -OCTOBER.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink


        Yes, if only those blocking Brexit could use such clear logic

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      The current agreement *was* unacceptable to Parliament when many of the latter believed that something better was available.

      If they no longer believe that, then it is possible that the Withdrawal Agreement *is* acceptable, so your “Boolean” statement can now be re-written with its conclusion inverted, or negated.

      Can’t it?

      Incidentally, logic is logic. Were you conflating it with Boolean algebra, a form of notation, used for logic sentences and so on?

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink


        I doubt even rabid remainers could now accept that awful agreement, surely, even if there is no alternative?

        I was making use of boolean logic used in computer programming as Fred spotted… IF (condition is true) THEN (perform action)

  31. Mark B
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    Even if they were to remove the Backstop it would be seen as a major political defeat as the EU repeatedly made it clear that they would support the RoI. It would mean a serious damage to the trust between the EU and its members. Further the UK could then demand a more concessions.

    All I can say is, that PM is deliberately asking for the impossible in the hope that they will not be given and we are out.

  32. Mick
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
    So the French think we are joking 😡when it comes to our freedom we do not joke or have the French forgotten the last world war, we will have our freedom and if that means no deal so be it, I’m pretty sure we can find a very good use for the billions in our country, it’s about time the remoaners came on board for we are leaving on October 31st 2019 but if they don’t like it tough pack up your belongings and go live in your beloved Europe bye bye you’ll not be missed

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Sorry to be pedantic, but Let’s not conflate Europe with the EU.

  33. Frank
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    In the words of private Frazer- Doomed Doomed- the WA is there, and won’t be reopened- it is what it is so leave with it or leave without it- as Theresa Villiers says the other problem is the 39 billion needs to be negotiated down- there’s no chance the EU is going to renegotiate any of yhis

  34. stred
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Boris has included many arch Remainers in his government and is playing off the 50%+ of Conservative MPs who would prefer a BRINO WA stitch up. We hear the Conservative think tank chief suggesting that citizens inform on each other for not switching off engines when at traffic lights or crawling through jams. Often the car is stopping for seconds and then moving forward little by little. Switching off only causes more pollution and wear. How can any conservative vote for a party with this type of person in it?
    The majority of MPs will be hoping that the electorate does not understand that the WA is not BREXIT and will put off a general election for two years, while we continue to pay and under EU control. Central Office ignores the party membership and allows MPS who have welched on the manifesto to remain. Your party is exposed for what it is. It will be up to the few true conservative MPs, who wish genuinely to leave, to resign and force a general election. Then there will be a cleaning out of the rotten core.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if ‘the majority of MPs’ actually KNOW that the WA is not Brexit. Perhaps they’ve just believed what their civil servants have told them. (”I’ll precis that for you, sir. Why keep a dog and bark yourself?”)
      I believe there are far more of us out here in the Real World who’ve read and understood it than they could ever imagine.

      • stred
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

        They don’t know and don’t care.

  35. Bill
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink


    Makes perfectly reasonable, eloquent request for sensible renegotiation, explaining position in detail, and not asking for much really, just the backstop removed, which the HOCs has rejected three times. Crucially he makes this public.

    The EU, through dimwit Tusk, immediately dismisses it out of hand with the standard, petulant response, “I fart in your general direction – PRRRRP!”

    Millions of Brexit voters quietly strengthen their resolve.

    Potentially rebellious Europhile Tory MPs get increasingly twitchy.

    German industry puts in more calls to Merkels office – “What the fk is going on?”

    Clock continues to run down

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Yep. I reckon you are spot on.
      Boris is being very clever.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Well Said, my thoughts exactly!

      One should not underestimate Boris.

    • Ian!
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink


    • Fred H
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      I imagine rather a lot of Production managers in EU businesses that export are considering options to lay-off workers, drop 3 shift working, plan 4 day weeks, suggest unions take pay-cuts….etc …. squeeky bum time approaching?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Yep – today’s diplomacy will have strengthened Boris’s hand. I hope he is talking to Trump on a daily basis. But there is a continuing need for local association chairmen to work-over the Remainiac MPs.

  36. Everhopeful
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Can’t go through all that again surely?
    I really thought Boris was radical ( mind you I really thought Cadbury’s had moved to I am not reliable!)
    What a disappointment.
    Can’t we just rip up all the treaties and say “We’ve LEFT”?

    • forthurst
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Cadbury’s has many factories making different products in different countries. It is a very large business which was bought by Kraft, a processed cheese company, with money borrowed from the British taxpayer (RBS). GB ltd is up for sale; apply HM government; it looks kindly on all offers to make more Britons serfs serving foreign masters. Keep voting liblabcon, you know it makes sense.

      • A.Sedgwick
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Many of the products made by companies around the turn of the c20 and now owned by whoever and manufactured where ever are a declining UK market. Tastes have changed, supermarket own labels are generally very good and there are a surprising number of smallish UK food companies innovating and appearing more on mainstream shelves. If the green lobby had brains they would concentrate on food miles not CO2.

    • steve
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink


      “Can’t we just rip up all the treaties and say “We’ve LEFT”?”

      Thats what should have happened in 2016, it was what we voted for.

  37. Kenneth
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I agree that removal of the backstop is not enough.

    All the while we remain members, our money is bleeding out of the country into the black hole that is called the eu

  38. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    What about Hammomd agreeing that repayments of our share of the EIB don’t include intetest or any profits made by the bank. He has apparently ceded £7.5 billion to the corrupt EU for absolutely nothing.

  39. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    My cynical view has been/is it will only be the intransigence of the EU politburo that will give us a clean break. The reliability of BJ has always been a concern, confirmed by his intended visits to Merkel/Macron. The WA Treaty hangs, draws and quarters the UK, without the backstop we are just hung out to dry and drawn down blind alleys.

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink


      Seventy odd years ago, the Nazi collaborator Marshal Philippe Pétain said,

      “In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.

      I can’t quite recall what Mr Churchill’s retort was.

  40. Freeborn John
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I do hope you would vote against a “WA lite” should Boris be foolish enough to try to get that through Parliament. £50bn to give to EU citizens more rights in the UK than Britons is no more acceptable than the old WA.

    • Carolyn
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Well said! No way is it acceptable for EU citizens to have more rights than UK citizens. And another thing: Boris keeps going on about guaranteeing EU citizens rights in the UK post Brexit, but seems to be doing NOTHING as regards making sure that those rights are reciprocated for UK citizens currently resident in ALL the remaining 27 EU states…

      • tim
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        UK citizens are mostly rich, self sustaining, retired, they contribute money to these countries. A vast amount VIA the EU are parasitic migrants, earn minimum wage to qualify for the massive tax credits, housing benefit, health care, education legal aide, and then send this money back to their home countries. How many do not pay housing bills, evicted re housed and on they go.

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I can hardly believe that we’ve got to go over all this silly nonsense again.

    For example:

    “Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support reestablishing a border.”

    As there’s already a border there can be no question of “reestablishing” one.

  42. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    At lunch today the table next to ours, 4 businessmen – 3 continentals, were discussing Brexit. The Brit (who must be a distributor) was apologising for the fact that the idiot, unwashed, uneducated northerners (I was in Romaldkirk) had been fooled by Farage & Co. The Continental businessmen were expressing disbelief that Boris was reverting to Brussels. They were not more irritated than I! They were disdainful of the impertinence of the British to think they could replace Technology from The Continent!
    I left before my main course, I can’t take much more of this!

  43. L Jones
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    There is a website: where some 46 MPs are listed as signing up to a pledge (our host among them – and, more notably, Boris Johnson), putting their names to the statement:

    ”…… by rejecting Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and delivering the Brexit that was promised at Lancaster House and in the Conservative manifesto. That means leaving the Single Market, Customs Union and ECJ overrule.

    ”In June 2019 we started a fresh pledge, which, in addition, asks MPs to commit to leaving the EU on 31st October and abandoning Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement as dead.”

    Is this an authentic website? If so, perhaps Mr Johnson’s attention should be drawn to it to refresh his memory.

  44. Caterpillar
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    As we know Mr Barclay’s earlier reply to Dr Redwood w.r.t. a ltd number of queries on the WA was essentially a shrug of the shoulders. Mr Johnson has kept Mr Barclay in place so it is no surprise that Mr Johnson will accept the process set out in the WA in exchange for removing / time limiting the backstop. If UK is not out cleanly or with a more favourably defined process by the 31at October, then it will be bad.

    Dr Redwood have you written to the PM or Secretary of State asking what other changes the EU must make?

  45. BrianW
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s a good treaty- only thing is a lot of ERG types urged on by the DUP don’t agree with it. FYI the DUP is not a majority party in NI and most of the people there voted to remain in the EU. In fact the DUP was the only party in the whole of Ireland that did not support the Good Friday Agreement- they and the dissident republican groups on the other end of the political spectrum- all voted against it.

  46. Ian!
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    With Remainers and the MSM trying there hardest to undermine the real negotiations, it could be the time as they say to throw the “dead cat on the table”. That way we could leave with the clean break we and Parliament voted for

  47. ukretired123
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I would leave all the blow-by-blow second guessing to EU to sweat about and not give any clue to them as to our thinking.
    Boris described the original Chequers deal as a Polished toad or similar and although voted once for May’s WA hopefully strategically. Having promised to leave on 31/10/19 he knows there is no going back.
    With Junker hospitalised and changing of the old EU guard, Germany going into recession Macron knowing loss of UK contributions will be painful and the rest of the gravy train en vacances we too can wish them Bon vacances -Fin!

  48. agricola
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Getting concerned at the lack of clarity in the process of departing the EU. Particularly when the WA and backstop keep returning from the dead.

    What happened to leaving on WTO terms plus offering an FTA and the suggestion of maintainig the status quo under Art 24 of GATT until the FTA is agreed. Too many people are still talking nonesense which allows the EU to believe that we are not serious.

    Offering the above and having it rejected shifts any blame to the EU. The one aspect I find encouraging is that at last preparatikns for no deal are begining to sound serious. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to what is really hoplening.

    • Terry
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      No art 24 until the UK agrees the backstop.

  49. David Maples
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Elmar Brok has just said on Newsnight that no-deal will lead to Britain losing 10% of GDP, and the combined EU a mere 0.5%!! Just how stupid and gullible do these ridiculous people think we are?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      the European Union was worth 18748.57 billion US dollars in 2018. UK was worth 2825 billion US dollars in 2018. So @0.5% EU will be worth 18654 billion US dollars post UK leaving. UK will be worth 2545 billion US dollars post leaving.
      I will watch with new interest. He did not deduct the UK share of EU GDP which was 15% before.

  50. Chris
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, do not believe what the EU says.
    Secondly, I believe that Boris will betray us, and the very fact that he is trying to resurrect the WA suggests that he is getting that encouragement from somewhere besides the europhile civil service. I suggest it is from Merkel et al, or at least from those who control Merkel. The deep state scent victory with Boris. I hope that you, Sir John, and your colleagues who are true to Brexit, are prepared.

    • Graham Wood
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      This letter and subsequent publicised demands by BJ to remove the “backstop” & etc is clearly a massive bluff.
      There is absolutely no way that a revived WA could be re-introduced to our parliament with or without a backstop for
      several reasons:
      1. The time factor is all important. Even if the 27 other members agree some sort of cobbled together agreement
      it would have to be passed through the European parliament before the 31st October deadline. No time.
      2. Likewise it would have to be passed through the H of C. Again, no time
      3. BJ is not going to commit electoral suicide for himself and the Conservative party by pursuing a real WA objective with the Brexit
      party waiting to swing into attack mode at the first opportunity.
      4. BJ’s strategy therefore is to make a pretence of having attempted to do all in his power to “negotiate” with the EU but knowing
      full well that there is no hope of any progress – this is in order to appease remainers in his party. He can then say that “no deal” therefore is the only option left.
      Time will then be on his side .
      He simply lets the clock run down until 31st October. Bingo!

      • tim
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink


  51. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    The Irish Times view on Boris Johnson’s Brexit position:

    includes this debatable proposition:

    “The truth is that, if Johnson had any confidence that there was a viable new way of avoiding a hard border while the entire UK left the customs union, he would not oppose the backstop because it would be irrelevant.”

    One part of the real truth is that the EU gave the Irish Republic a veto over the terms of the UK’s withdrawal, and the Irish long ago decided to use that veto to ensure that the UK remains under as many EU laws as possible for as long as possible.

    From November 26th 2017:

    “On the TV this morning it was stated that the UK government is “desperate” to move on to trade talks, but this would be vetoed by the Irish government unless the UK government committed to keeping the UK in both the Single Market and the Customs Union.”

    While another part of the real truth is that it was not the EEC customs union in 1973 that permitted, indeed demanded, the removal of all customs checks at the Irish border but the advent of the EU Single Market in 1993.

    And yet another part of the real truth is that having allowed goods to flow in freely from the Republic across the land border without any routine checks for over a quarter of a century now, on the basis that they will all comply with EU laws, there will be no reason whatsoever to suddenly start intercepting and checking them the day after we leave the EU, when the Republic will still be in the EU and still applying EU laws.

    And another, similar, part of the real truth is that the UK will also still be applying EU laws to goods after we have left the EU, until such future time as we start to diverge.

    While the final part of the real truth is that even when the UK starts to diverge from EU laws on the goods in circulation within its territory it can still insist that any goods taken across the land border into the Republic must comply with EU laws, on pain of both civil and criminal penalties for any hauliers who are found to be ignoring that requirement and taking across goods which the EU would regard as contraband.

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Very good, Denis.

      A precise explanation as to why the backstop has always been nothing more than a mechanism designed specifically to keep us under the control of Brussels and the ECJ for as long as possible.

    • Jiminyjim
      Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Excellent summary of the position, Denis. Perhaps I can add that if the free movement of goods between EU nations is essential, why is there a hard border between Croatia and Slovenia? The EU huffs and puffs but does nothing to enforce its own rules

  52. ChrisS
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I wish Boris was not going to Berlin, Paris and especially to Dublin. There is really nothing to talk about, given the entrenched attitude displayed by the leaders of all three countries.

    All it will provide is worldwide coverage of a third British Prime Minister going cap in hand to the EU asking for changes that they have already stated they will not consider. How demeaning is that ?

    Boris should be waiting until the end of September by which time it will have become obvious that the Remainers plotting to stop us leaving without a deal have failed.
    Only then will Merkel even think abour moving, if at all.

    As for Dublin, I would insist Varadkar comes to London. The leaders of large and important countries have to have very good reasons for indulging the leaders of small and insignificant ones by visiting them at home. Varadkar has proven time and again that he is no friend of the UK and he should be treated as such. I hope that our Government will return the favour when his economy is tanking after 31st October.

  53. Steve Reay
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    The EU will offer a deal without the backstop,Boris will agree, parliament will agree because everyone’s bloody sick of Brexit.

  54. Fred H
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    On Tuesday, the government has announced that British officials would stop attending most EU meetings from 1 September, only taking part in those where the UK has a “significant national interest”.

    The Department for Exiting the European Union said it would “unshackle” them from discussions “about the future of the Union after the UK has left” and allow them to focus on “our immediate national priorities”.

    What officials attend meetings ( as opposed to MEPs?). I thought they were on holiday, or is this effective as they return to Brussels- suntanned?

  55. glen cullen
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    If after the 1st October the EU still has influence, control or direction in UK laws, finance, borders and employment we haven’t left the EU…..we voted to leave the EU

  56. Gareth Warren
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I can only hope the EU does us a favor by not accepting the loss of the backstop.

    If he believes the WA minus the backstop is acceptable to the British people he is badly mistaken. Leavers like me have been talking about the WA to know it is a bad agreement, remainers too know it is worst than staying – both will punish the conservatives for signing it.

    If he really wants to make a success of brexit the government should be making a big show of negotiating trade agreements with countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand so that importers have clear cheaper alternatives for food and goods on day one.

    The silence here makes me fear another repeat of Mrs Mays duplicity, I doubt the conservative party would survive its repeat.

  57. BillM
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Just why do those politicos feel we must have a deal with the EU before we can leave in accordance with the terms of the Referendum result and subsequent Act of Parliament?

  58. Fred H
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    off topic….
    The level of migration from the EU to the UK has been underestimated by the Office for National Statistics from the mid-2000s to 2016. The ONS said the error affected the number of migrants from eight of the countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland. It said it may have also overstated migration from non-EU countries.

    As a result, the status of the immigration figures compiled by the ONS has been downgraded to “experimental”. Immigration experts at the University of Oxford said the latest ONS analysis showed official data has been “systematically underestimating net migration from EU countries”. The ONS said new analysis showed that in 2015-16, EU net migration – the difference between people arriving and leaving – was 16% higher (29,000) than first thought.

    This means an increase in the estimate of EU migration from 178,000 to 207,000 for the year ending March 2016.
    Net migration from outside the EU was 13% (25,000) lower, because more foreign students left than previously estimated.

    —–This appears to show how popular UK is to come and live here, rather than stay in their home EU country.

    • tim
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink


  59. BR
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Boris avoided the cap-in-hand supplicant status for a while but has returned to it now by going to meet EU leaders this week. He is talking about removing the backstop as if that solves the WA issue.

    As Peter Bone said today: why is he not looking for a FTA which obviates most of the need for a WA?

    Why is he not insisting that the negotiations are done in line with Article 50, which clearly states that any WA must take account of the future relationship (i.e. FTA etc first, WA later if necessary – so why is he still going along with the EU insisting on doing it the other way round, against the provisions of the treaty?).

    Also, why is he not offering to take the ‘divorce bill’ to arbitration, including the claims we will have from the UK side on our share of ECB capitalisation, asset shares, not paying pensions etc?

    I started out with a good feeling on Boris, now I’m worried that it’s just more fudge.

    It seems that the only way we can leave now that will save the Conservative party is on WTO terms. If he signs anything like the WA, I will be voting Brexit Party – they’ve said that they are there for more than Brexit, they are there to sort out the mess of modern politics. We may yet need them to do just that.

  60. steve
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Well the latest I read is that Boris and Merkel seem to have agreed a deal is possible, and within 30 days.

    That is not what I require or expect.

    Boris Johnson was the last chance for the conservatives…..and yep, as many suspected – a last minute stitch up is on the way.

    Looks like WE will have to carry out plan B……Nigel Farage.

    Bring that General Election ! let’s kick the lot of ’em out Lab, Con, Lib, no matter what their brexit positions….wipe them out of political existence, the whole sodding lot.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      That WA, as it stands, will hand all the cards (and a lot of power) to the EU. Do you believe they’ll ‘allow’ us to vote in a Eurosceptic party even if they do ‘allow’ us to have an nobble-free GE?

  61. rose
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    The backstop should never have been countenanced as there was no need to fuss about the border before we had left and the trading arrangements were known.

    As for the rest of the DWA, I have lost count of all the bad clauses in it. I don’t remember there being a single clause in it in our favour.

  62. Little Englander
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Two Gites Andy: “I love freedom. Freedom to live, love, work and study in 31 Countries which you are taking away from us’ . Aged 18 in 1964 armed with £50 (the max we were allowed to take out of the Country at that time) I shipped out from Portsmouth/ Santander thence by train to Malaga where I enrolled in a language SKOOL simultaneously applying for Residency and work visa from Generalissimo Franco’s bunch of cowboys which was an easy process and worked there to pay off some of my tuition fees. KSA was a little bit more difficult and time consuming but got there in the end. Nobody is taking your freedom away from you in the way that you are inferring because you can still do all that but perhaps after we leave you may have to apply yourself a little more diligently and conjure up some energy to process the right documentation, as we used to have to do, the former of which you might find difficult the latter of which is not. People like you who want everything handed to them on a plate and remain complaining are a drain on our energy and a poor resource.

  63. steve
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Boris getting pally with Macron now eh – Just watch the space, a sell out is on the way.

    The mere fact that he talks to the French I find deeply offensive.

    Conservative Party = done for, toast, kaput. We did warn, ANY negotiation with the EU particularly France and Germany…..even the slightest whiff, and we bury the tories for good.

    Game over for them……let’s have a general election and get brexit party in.

    We warned time and time again what would happen if we had another PM who rolls over.

  64. Ian
    Posted August 25, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Boris, May In trousers, Tories same old same old.
    He has not yet torn up theWA, only talks of the Back Stop, which has always been a A Red Herring. Anyway.
    Total change is needed and you will not getthatwith any of those parties in Westmonster.

    Farage and his Brexiteers are a breath of Freash air ,we need total change, we need Democracy, we have not had that in many Decades.
    Change the Establishment, by getting rid of it, anythingless is just Same Old surf dome for Eternity ?
    Well what thehell do you want, grab Freedom, or cave in and to hell with our grandchildren ?
    Thing less is same old same old same Old?
    Well do you want the same old or change and Freedom, or perhaps you feel secure.
    If you feel Same Old is safe , then vote liberal
    Otherwise Vote Brexit Party

  65. Ian
    Posted August 25, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    May In trousers ?
    Vote Brexit Party, or too Hellwith ouregrand Children

  • 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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