The Irish border issue

Eurosceptics do not see there is a problem with the land border between the Republic of Ireland and the UK. As the government has made clear, the UK will not be imposing new barriers or complex new checks at the border once we leave.

The present border is already a complex border. It is a VAT border and Excise border. Trucks do not have to wait at the border while someone in a kiosk works out the VAT owing. It is all done electronically away from the border. States are good at knocking tax off business accounts without needing to collect fivers when the truck arrives. It is a currency border. Again the currency calculations and exchanges occur well away from the transit point. It is an anti terrorist border, which works by mutual co-operation on both sides. The day after we leave arrangements to control smuggling and to intercept criminals will be the same as today. The UK and the Republic of Ireland have confirmed that the long standing Travel Area between our two countries will continue, avoiding the need for extra checks on people crossing.

The UK will continue to inspect food products after we leave as before. The EU authorities will presumably continue to check and certify the products they are sending for export without needing a check at their border, and the UK will continue to regulate wholesalers and retailers with inspections and spot checks on their facilities and product as required, all away from the border. UK retailers will continue to be under a legal duty of care to ensure anything they import from the EU is safe food.

So why is there an issue? The Republic of Ireland and the EU say there may be an issue because they are concerned about “the integrity of the single market”. It reminds us that the single market was never a free trade area, but a heavily protected system ring fenced with tariffs and dependent on detailed product specification and regulation. Anyone inside the EU or outside the EU has to comply with all aspects of the rules and tax requirements in order to sell into this market. Once out the UK as other third countries like the USA and China will have to comply with all the rules on goods exported to the EU, just as we do today. The difference will be that we can adopt different standards if we wish to for other overseas markets and for our domestic market. We may design better ones or we may need to adopt different standards for export product elsewhere. More importantly we will no longer be expected to pay large sums for the privilege of being inside this single market and we will be free to cut tariffs to buy cheaper goods from non EU countries if we wish.

The issue of the Irish border is therefore one for the EU, not for the UK. The question to them is what new checks if any will they impose on the Republic of Ireland border on their exports to the UK and their imports from the UK? Any checks they wish to impose on UK exports will of course have to be proportionate and appropriate under WTO rules. They also cannot impose checks against UK exports that they do not impose against exports from anywhere else in the world. The EU says it understands the history of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That means they will not wish to impose new barriers and difficult checks at the border. There are many crossing points, and like all such land borders smuggling is possible over fields and farms as well as along rural roads. There is smuggling today and there will be smuggling after Brexit. Authorities on both sides of the border have an interest in controlling and prosecuting smugglers, and do so today by intelligence led co-operation. The same is the best answer once the UK has left the EU.

The border issue is of course mainly a political issue designed to make it difficult or impossible for the UK to leave the single market and customs union. It only achieves this end if the UK accepts the faulty premise, that new barriers are needed at the border if we just leave. The UK government has stated clearly it does not think that. The EU also likes to claim there is no technology answer to this conundrum. They should remind themselves that their borders today work with much help from electronic manifests, off border settlement of taxes and dues,a low number of sampling checks at borders, checks at the factory or farm originating the product or at the wholesaler or retailer receiving the product, TIR transport systems and the rest. Computers and the internet offer plenty of ways of having smooth borders, reflected in the Facilitation of Trade rules of the WTO. The UK imports quite easily from non EU sources today despite EU rules and controls affecting such imports.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Exactly is it not really an issue at all. It has been constructed and used by the EU and Southern Ireland to attempt to stich up the UK with May putrid W/A treaty. May’s government idiotically fell for it.

    As you say :- The issue of the Irish border is therefore one for the EU, not for the UK. The question to them is what new checks if any will they impose on the Republic of Ireland border on their exports to the UK and their imports from the UK? Any checks they wish to impose on UK exports will of course have to be proportionate and appropriate under WTO rules.

    Farage on LBC last night seems convinced Boris is going to rat on his promises and is planning to accept this putrid W/A with just minor fudges over the back stop. I hope he is wrong but he has a history of being right.

    • oldtimer
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Alternatively the May/Hammond axis was complicit in devising a “deal” that was so bad that, if rejected, it would lead to calls for revocation of Article 50. I recall her warning that this might happen and indeed it is what is happening as parliamentary plotting against the Johnson government heats up by the day.

    • Nig l
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Agree totally with your last paragraph. However the WA still needs to get through the Commons and certainly the ERG will not support, albeit I presume JRM has been ‘bought off’ he us very quiet and secondly Boris has invested so much political capital in leaving that if it is May lite he agrees to, his credibility goes to zilch and Farage is waiting.

      • DaveK
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think JRM has been “bought off”, I believe he has been put in a useful position to deal with Remainer political tactics in Parliament. His performance and statements to date seem to concur with this theory.

    • Leaver
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      I believe the problem comes down to the unmarked lorry problem.

      While legal traffic is not a problem. What do you do if an unregistered lorry crosses the border?

      To stop it you will need a border check. Nor can you risk it going through when it could be carrying anything from bombs to smuggled goods.

      This will require customs guards and infrastructure. The alternative, which is simply to leave this country open to terrorists and smugglers seems totally irresponsible.

      As I’ve said before, putting up a border may accelerate the break up of the U.K and save England a bundle, so I have no problem with it anyway.

      Reply The unmarked bomb carrying lorry is a remote threat but one that exists today and is dealt with by police co-operation on both sides of the border. Its not a new problem post Brexit

      • ZKaye
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

        Interesting points, but why do you think being in the EU and having an open border is any less of a deterrent than being out of the EU and having no border. If a terrorist wants to transport bombs across the border in a lorry they can do so today. In fact it’s the EU migration policy aka Merkel, that has opened up the opportunity for terrorists.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I wonder whether farage actually wants brexit? After all its the end of his political career if it happens. Perhaps he likes the limelight, bellowing betrayal etc.see allister heath on this the other day.

    • Bob
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink


      “May’s government idiotically fell for it.”

      They embraced the issue as an excuse to avoid Brexit, which is why we’re were offered the “pretend to leave” agreement AKA the WA, which by the way is back with minor tweaks, despite all the play acting by Boris, Angular and Manny. A little bit more smoke and mirrors, another two year transition period and voilà BRINO.

    • jerry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      @LL; “Farage on LBC last night seems convinced Boris is going to rat on his promises”

      Of course he does, its his job to do so, do you also believe everything Mr Corbyn says too?!

    • NickC
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Yes Nigel Farage has his faults, but he does have a history of being right.

      I was beginning to hope that we might leave without a WA, and – obviously, since the EU has refused one – without a comprehensive free trade deal.

      But the EU has called Boris’s bluff by saying the NI border is Boris’s problem (it isn’t) and, if he can “solve” it, then the NI backstop can be removed. But that has been the EU’s position all along. So it’s can-kicking. And the EU remains in the driving seat, because Boris has been duped into accepting the EU’s stance. May (and Robbins, etc) fell into the same trap.

    • Les
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      What am I missing?
      Why is the fact that any immigrant already in the EU can simply walk across into the UK in NI?
      Is this not an elephant in the room?

      Reply No its not. They will need a work permit to work and illegal migrants after October 31 would not be able to buy or rent homes, get driving licences etc.

      • Dennis
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        ‘Reply No its not. They will need a work permit to work and illegal migrants after October 31 would not be able to buy or rent homes, get driving licences etc.’

        I don’t think illegals will worry about any of that.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply. Why would they want to tent when a local garden shed usually suffices. The problem with a lot of you politicians is that you don’t live in the real world and you don’t see what is actually going on. You need to get out more.

      • Andy
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:39 am | Permalink

        Which EU law prevents us from introducing work permits and/or identity cards while we are EU members?

        I’ll wait.

    • startledcod
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      You are correct that the EU saw a first rate opportunity to ‘weaponise the Irish border to good effect in the ‘negotiations’ which coupled with the ridiculous sequencing, partly, delivered the ridiculous situation we are in now; I quote Michel Barnier ‘For me there is also a strategic and tactical reason, which is to use Ireland for the future negotiations. To isolate Ireland, and not to close this point, to leave it open for the next two or three years. And in that case we will face clearly permanent pressure on the negotiations about trade, the Single Market, because of Ireland. And we have to be careful what the reaction will be of the European Council and the Member States.’

      Mrs May’s understanding of the whole appears to have been woefully inept, at best.

    • Ian terry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      @ LL

      I hope he is wrong but he has a history of being right.

      Correct. It is not an agreement it is a treaty and sooner the whole of Mays terrible deal is totally destroyed and committed to history and we get our PM to actually be honest and tell us what it really was and is, a treaty the better. If he gets this wrong and tries to fudge us off with a May agreement mk 2 then the party and this country will be toast. You can only fool some of the people some of the time not all the people all of the time. Have nothing been learnt over the last three years?

    • Hope
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      That is what the three were effectively saying, changes to the backstop. Johnson has repeatedly said comments about the backstop. It is not. It is the whole rancid document. Ann Widdecombe thinks the same as Farage. She wrote this week, no single market, no customs union, no EU army control, no ECJ at all.

      I am now eager for a general election to get rid of people like: Greive, Letwin, Boles, Bebb, Allen, Soubry, Gauke, Clarke x2, Lee, Rudd, Wollaston- I suspect however other than those retiring Johnson will do nothing about them. People demand change to these MPs crossing the floor, some on multiple occasions. They do not represent what the public voted for, they are actively opposing democracy and the will of the people, yet allowed to stay in office drawing £80,000 plus expenses!

    • Timaction
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Then the Tory’s are toast at the next election!

    • Brexitear
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      No chance if he wants to remain Prime Minister of a Tory Government! He’s playing the blame game whilst feeding scaps to the remainer wing of the Tory party!

    • Richard Evans
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      The Irish border issue is one of so many manufactured fear issues concocted by the EU and the establishment. As it is, Southern Ireland is a mess and one of the most corrupt members of the EU – do your own research.
      Regarding the comment from Nigel Farage on Boris, remember Boris was originally a remainer and Boris has always wanted to be PM. He “runs with the hares and hunts with the hounds” and as I have said from day one, our establishment will never allow a Brexiteer PM. I hope the situation has changed since Donald Trump visited the UK and that Trump now has Boris’s ear? We shall see but I feel betrayal is staring us in the face once again. I just want OUT no strings whatsoever. I am still waiting to hear from our establishment MSM the truth regarding the resignation of MAY – Brexit!!!!!! wake up people.

  2. formula57
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    “The issue of the Irish border is therefore one for the EU, not for the UK.” – exactly so !

    Given both the governments of the U.K. and the Irish Republic have stated they will not create a so-called hard border, can we be told who will?

    • NickC
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Formula57, Boris has walked straight into the EU trap. The EU has got Boris to accept the EU position that the Eire/NI border is a “problem”, when it isn’t. So nothing that the UK produces as a “solution” will be acceptable to the EU. Boris and Cummings are being strung along – it’s like an EU Machiavellian dance of the seven veils. So much for Cummings (self) vaunted intelligence.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Well, in the same way that if a zoo recklessly let all the lions out of their cages, and then the council put up a fence to protect the townspeople, then all but a complete fool would not blame the council for the existence of the fence.

      However, such reasonableness is quite beyond the European Union-hating fanatic, evidently.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        What a weird analogy.
        Who are the lions?

    • Dennis
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      “…they will not create a so-called hard border, can we be told who will?”

      Yes, The UK when it realises that too many of those already in the EU want to live in the UK and are walking/driving/busing/ by train coming over the border with no checks. Or the UK won’t bother and just accept illegal immigration.

      • DaveK
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        So your theory is that (by your inference), undesirable people will enter ROI without paperwork, and then travel across to NI and then attempt to travel to mainland UK.

        1. Is Dublin happy with this influx (what happens if they want to stay)?
        2. I have never been, but looking at history even with the GFA I imagine the people in NI may notice a huge growth in strangers.
        3. None of the transport routes are going to check ID on departure and arrival – ridiculous. I am an EU citizen and I have had my passport checked on departure and arrival in all EU countries including recently Dublin.

        • Dennis
          Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          DaveK ‘I am an EU citizen and I have had my passport checked on departure and arrival in all EU countries including recently Dublin’

          Is that ‘cos you are an EU citizen of a country not in the Schengen area travelling to one. You didn’t make clear if you meant travelling between Schengen areas. Once in I have never been checked as there are no borders. Ireland of course is not in the Schengen area so will check passports but no problem if from the EU.

          Depends what you mean by a huge growth. Those boating to the UK across the Channel are raising concern.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

            Try flying between EU countries without a passport and see how far you get.
            However I have travelled by car without showing my passport as I travelled between France Holland Austria Germany and Belgium (only when boarding the ferry out from UK) and UK isn’t in Schengen group.

  3. Peter Wood
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    You touch on the real issue; Varadkar saw this as an opportunity to wrest NI back from the UK and the EU backed him. Merkel has blinked and decided the NI border is not worth a lengthy fight, so the jig is up.
    Its IS interesting to see once again that what Germany decides on behalf of the EU, then that is what the EU does.
    Merkel will agree on a time limited ‘backstop’ and Johnson will accept all other terms of the May Withdrawal Treaty, then we will continue to pay the EU, as Merkel and Macron really want, as much as they want for as long as we’re tied in. This is the Boris Stitch-up.
    Will our host and other Brexiteers counter this, and will enough force BJ to try harder?

    • Pete S
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      If Boris thinks the ERG and TBP will keep quiet about the remainder of the capitulation treaty (the WA), if he tries to put it through, Then his supposed intelligence will be a myth.

      Once the EU blink on the backstop, I do not know how he will evade that dreadful WA. But it is completely unacceptable.

    • Marcus
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Varadkar does not want NI back from the UK- He’S just trying to keep things the same or as near the same- Ireland Republic could not afford NI which is probably costing UK at least sixteen Billion PA- and all of that for two million people.

      • formula57
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        Cheaper than Scotland though surely – and with less tiresome whinging.

        I concur that the Republic likely does not want N.I. and certainly does not want to be put in the position is saying so.

    • Ian terry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Peter Wood

      will enough force BJ to try harder?

      Don’t hold your breath. Destroy the treaty for that is what it is and leave now. JFD.

    • BOF
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Should events pan out in this way, it will breathe new life into The Brexit Party. CCHQ may have to call on a higher power to assist, come election time.

    • James1
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Woe betide Boris if he resorts to only tweaking the backstop provisions within Mrs May’s W/A treaty and accepts the obnoxious remainder of it. He surely must know that this would result in his premiership being one of the shortest on record. If he lasts until the next election before he is thrown out of office he will be lucky.

    • Little Englander
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood: I’m not sure I agree with your comment “Varadkar saw this as an opportunity to wrest NI back from the UK and the EU backed him” He (Varadkar) knows that NI is ungovernable with bowler hatted morons marching on the 1st July every year disturbing the whole province and commemorating what? some battle fought in 1690? It would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious as to cause a great deal of resentment and antagonism amongst people of a different persuasion and that is their sole objective ; equally – morons of a different persuasion who wall off their section of a city and make these Republican areas only. It’s not just “NO GO” it’s hostile with possible consequences. Why would Varadkar or any sane politician across the border want to inherit ‘ungovern-dom”? No mate there is another reason ( perhaps many of them) for Varadkar’s intransigence over the backstop/border however wanting this province back for an all Ireland island is not one of them. THAT is for another discussion sometime in the future but if he does want it and the NI majority want it – frankly we couldn’t get rid of it quick enough!

      • Peter Wood
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:02 am | Permalink

        1. I didn’t say Varadkar’s plan was a good one, I agree it would most likely give him an enormous problem, BUT if successful, it would win him his next election.
        2. We should give NI a referendum again on leaving the UK. It’s been a generation since the last one. If NI leaves the UK, we’re better off!
        3. The EU want our money more than it needs all of ROI in the EU. Look at the net contributions. Particularly so as we fall into a worldwide recession.
        4. BJ knows that the HoC approved the Malthouse proposal, to modify/extend the transition period in the May treaty, so that’s all he’s asking for. The HoC will approve his minor modification to the May Treaty and claim a successful Brexit, then go to the country.
        4. The EU will see that the Malthouse is the best deal, we keep paying but have no say on how much, and obey all their rules, for the next 3-4 years.
        5. 4 above will do enormous damage to the UK economy, we’ll have to borrow to fund the EU during a period of severe recession, but that’s what the EU wants.

        Reply Malthouse never passed the Commons. The Brady amendment passed narrowly but would not do so again. Only three Conservatives including myself refused to vote for Brady but now people like David Davies as well as Bill Cash who both voted for Brady have said they would vote against the WA minus the backstop.

        • Alison
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          I fear it might pass (it being WA minus backstop), on the votes of those Labour MPs who are in high leave-voting constituencies. They include the 25 MPs who wrote to Corbyn begging him not to go pro-2nd referendum (yes, there were 26 signatories, but the London one surely doesn’t count). These MPs could claim to their constituents that they are delivering Brexit.

  4. Shirley
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    We all know the fuss about the border is for political gain, and ongoing control over the UK.

    I suspect this EU demand will only apply to goods going into Ireland from N.I. The EU will not want Irish goods to be delayed, or prevented from, entering N.I or the UK.

    As you say, we manage control of different currencies, different VAT regimes, etc. without a physical border. The EU think it is impossible to control a border via electronic means, so we already perform miracles every day.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      If the solution is indeed so simple, then just tell the European Union’s negotiators about it, and if it is effective then they will immediately remove the backstop requirement.

      Won’t they?

      So why does no one do this?


      • Kevin Lohse
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        It is not in the interests of Brussels to agree that any solution to the Backstop is effective. Therefore, nothing suggested will be agreed to.

    • Ian terry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink


      Totally correct.

    • Ken Smith
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      We manage things now because we are in the EU. Did you really think after Brexit nothing would change?

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Have you told Boris this. He looks like he’s ready to capitulate.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Boris Johnson commented to Angela Merkel:

      “The onus is on us”

      which is even worse than Theresa May’s unnecessary concession:

      “But it is not good enough to say, ‘We won’t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s down to them’. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution.”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      He does indeed alas.

      It would be a big mistake for him, disastrous for the country and the Conservative Party.

    • Ian terry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      I do not think you are alone with your observations and thinking process.

    • Hope
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      I think a massive fudge is coming. This is the conclusion I draw from his comments being solely concerned to the backstop.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        @Hope: For Johnson to get rid of Farage, he needs a brexit before elections. Would a no-deal brexit and a fudge only after elections (and a new Tory government with enhanced majority – because it “delivered” Brexit) not be more likely? . . . . I could think of one.

  6. bill brown
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Interesting analyses but unfortunately there will be much more sampling on the EU side than there is now an that will be causing the problems, if any do arise.

    On the ret of the analytics I will just say I disagree, it just gets too long

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Why will there be much more sampling on the EU side than now, when the UK will still be applying the same EU rules as now until there are positive legal moves to depart from specific EU standards? Why will the Irish and the EU be wasting their time and energy on immediately intercepting and inspecting incoming goods when initially at least there will be no more need to do than now, and conceivably the need to intercept and inspect goods from the UK may never arise?

      • AlmostDead
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

        What is needed is a proper distinction between MRAs on conformity assessment and those on regulatory standards. While MRAs on conformity assessment are necessary and acceptable to the EU, mutual recognition of standards applies exclusively to Single Market members. It cannot apply to the Irish border or to whatever standards the UK has Brexit day + 1. Many food and agriculture products rely currently on the mutual recognition principle. Post-Brexit we are faced with the prospect of many UK products traded across the Irish border having to comply with Irish regulatory standards. And not only does this raise regulatory complications, it has significant implications for the scale of cross-border checks. Where no EU harmonising standards exist for a product, Irish officials will have to check UK goods entering Ireland for conformity with relevant Irish law.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          But this already happens every day when goods arrive in EU nations that come from non EU countries.
          The conformity is done by declarations electronically before goods arrive.
          If you make false declarationson on those forms there are big penalties.
          But remember it is goods being delivered to a customer.
          Those customers will reject your goods if they are not compliant and of merchantable quality because they also risk penalties if they try to sell them.
          Then there are customs lists of trusted traders.
          Your vision of people opening boxes and testing goods in a shed at a border is a bit old fashioned.
          Felixstowe checks and unloads one container, full with many tons of goods from mainly non EU countries, every few seconds 24/7/365.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          As clearly implied in this recent report:

          “Food, no-deal and the Irish border”

          it would be open to the EU to waive its usual requirements.

          “In the face of warnings that a no-deal Brexit will bring serious disruption at many levels to the food supply on the island of Ireland (and indeed to the UK more widely), there is an argument that this is a ‘fake fuss’ and that in practice things can carry on more or less as normal. We do not agree. It is true that nothing will change, in terms
          of UK food safety and standards, on the day after Brexit, and we are aware that the UK has been making legislative provision to ensure that key EU standards are incorporated into UK law. But unless the EU agrees to recognise this and to waive checks (and there has been no indication that this will happen), events are likely to unfold as we have described them.”

          If the EU prefers to create unnecessary chaos at borders rather than make sensible arrangements to accommodate the new situation then there will be chaos, AND IT WILL BE THE FAULT OF THE EU.

      • AlmostDead
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        *Note to John…Captcha failed first time so re-submitting comment:

        What is needed is a proper distinction between MRAs on conformity assessment and those on regulatory standards. While MRAs on conformity assessment are necessary and acceptable to the EU, mutual recognition of standards applies exclusively to Single Market members. It cannot apply to the Irish border or to whatever standards the UK has Brexit day + 1. Many food and agriculture products rely currently on the mutual recognition principle. Post-Brexit we are faced with the prospect of many UK products traded across the Irish border having to comply with Irish regulatory standards. And not only does this raise regulatory complications, it has significant implications for the scale of cross-border checks. Where no EU harmonising standards exist for a product, Irish officials will have to check UK goods entering Ireland for conformity with relevant Irish law.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

          This was the subject of my last letter to the Irish Times, in response to a headline:

          “Ireland will have to apply border controls on food after no-deal Brexit, UK group says”

          pointing out that an EU which can agree to have euro bail-outs in clear contravention of its treaties could certainly apply waivers to avoid chaos at the Irish border, if it so chose.

    • NickC
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Bill Brown, As JR said the EU must treat the UK the same way it treats other third countries such as India or New Zealand. So not “more sampling” then.

      As for the “analytics” being “too long”, I’m sure JR can produce shorter sound-bites to suit you thick Remains. And don’t whinge about being called “thick” – Remains started by calling Leave voters thick, and still persist with it.

      • bill brown
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink


        Read it again, I was not going to respond with my analytics not JRs, but you do have to write for the sake of it. I do not see where the thick has to come into it, but you hardly make sense

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Much talk of more girls taking science subjects this year (which I am all in favour of). Though I have found it hard to find the real figures rather than the P/C spin that is everywhere.

    In Physics/Further Maths/Computer Studies is it still rather under 30% female at A level. Cambridge Maths is under 30% female too. Whereas in Biology & Chemistry it is rather more evenly balanced. Medicine at university is now slightly more female than male.

    • Excalibur
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Indeed Lifelogic. I heard only today that for every ten-thousand female engineers the US produces, China graduates three-hundred-and- fifty-thousand.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Medicine at university is very minority white male. I wonder why this is.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      I was told an A level Maths and Further Maths syllabus doesn’t prepare you well for a serious Maths degree anyway, perhaps it needs relooking at with more aligning with onward degrees of Maths college students and maybe a functional A level Maths degree that crosses over better into other degree subject disciplines better.

    • APL
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic: “Much talk of more girls taking science subjects this year”

      You won’t hear the hew and cry about getting more men into Human Resources though. Such departments are about 80% female.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Nothing to crow about.

  8. Mick
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    The one and only reason we would put up a hard border is if paramilitaries start there hit and run bombing and shootings again, then we will have no choice but to erect check points after all Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and not European and Parliament as a duty to look after its own safety

    • Iain Moore
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      It is disgraceful the way the NI/Irish border issue has been played up , and especially the security issue. It seems they are desperate to have some terrorist atrocity take place to justify their agenda. If they really cared about the NI troubles they would have kept the NI broder off the headlines, kept the whole thing chilled out and completely laid back about any problems, instead they have exploited it and made it the focus which is the most irresponsible thing they could have done. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised for the remainers, in pursuit of their beloved EU, have stressed to breaking point every institution and democratic value in their attempt to overturn the referendum.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      And you seriously think that this idiotic, destructive exit caper is worthwhile, even with a possible return to full-on sectarian violence in Ireland?

      Not a day passes without new depths of cynicism on the part of the Leave fanatics being exposed.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Idiotic, destructive, fanatics, violence?
        Is there no limit to your extremist remain obsessed hyperbole adjectives.
        Calm down Martin.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      “There is never any justification to use violence to achieve political aims.” Varadkar.

      But it does work to win your political aims. Over and over again concessions are made to violence.

  9. Nig l
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    But what about the rest of the WA. Paying vast sums, the ECJ, tariffs, VAT, fishing, subsidy and procurement etc.

    Boris is suspiciously quiet

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Indeed, Nig.
      Once again the public is being set up for another betrayal by the Tory Party.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Quite. It seems clear that Boris Johnson’s plan is to get the backstop removed or some fudged concession made so that he can go back to Parliament and get Mrs May’s Withdrawal Treaty through with the support of opposition MPs. The deal that was described by him and other senior Conservative MPs as ‘dead’ will be brought back to life. Remember the expression “putting lipstick on a pig”? This is it, Johnson style.

      • Chris
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Brian T, Greg Hands (and presumably Nicky Morgan, co author) seem very happy about the latest developments with Boris. Another bad sign.

    • NickC
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Nig1, It’s not just suspicious, it’s a blunder. It’s like Boris’s off hand remark that we will be in the CU and SM for another couple of years. After the 3 year May debacle, trust is paper thin. And the paper is beginning to rip. It is looking like the Conservative party will be reduced to its 9% rump.

    • Ian terry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Nig 1

      Far too quiet. What price for another stitch up?

    • Atlas
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I agree that Boris is suspiciously quiet.

      It will not go well for him if he sells out on these issues.

  10. GilesB
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Nothing is needed until regulations diverge which won’t happen for a while.

    If we regulate that beer cans have to be in imperial measures not metric, it will be illegal to import improper sized cans. Trading Standard officers can quickly prosecute the distributors, particularly if there is a reward for reporting infringements. We need more TSOs anyway

    • NickC
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Giles B, Beer cans are based on imperial (ie American) measures. The liquid content may be designated on the side of the can in any units.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The border is already one dividing countries with very different tax rates, different laws and a different currencies so what additional difference does the UK leaving the EU really make to it. It is clearly a non problem being immorally used by the EU as a crowbar against the UK.

    So why on earth did May/Hammond and her advisors fall for this obvious attempted scam?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Because they secretly agreed with the Irish government that even after we had left the EU the UK – and remember, it was Theresa May who insisted that it must be not just Northern Ireland but the whole of the UK, which she then claimed as a concession she had wrested from the EU – must remain under the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market in perpetuity, as publicly demanded by the Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan on November 26th 2017:

      “Brexit: Remain in customs union and single market to solve border issue, Ireland’s European commissioner tells May”

      “Mr Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the border issue, and said it was a “very simple fact” that “if the UK or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue”.”

    • agricola
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      They did not fall for it, they were complicit in it’s creation. It suited their remain agenda.

      • Chris
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Spot on, Agricola.

    • William Long
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Because their agenda was to keep us tied as closely as possible to the EU, even if it meant being controlled by it for ever. I do not think they ‘fell’ for anything; say what you like about them, they are not that stupid. It can only have been deliberate.

    • NickC
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Boris has fallen for it, too.

    • BOF
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      LL Rather than ‘fall’ for it, I would opine that they actively colluded. They never wanted us to leave in any meaningful way.

    • Ken Smith
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      So you think leaving the EU means nothing changes? You are so deluded

    • forthurst
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Why repeat what JR has written in his blog today. This is his blog; if you want a blog to write what yo want, set your own so we don’t have to continually wade through your off topic rants.

  12. Dominic
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    A shameless ruse by a bankrupt political class but the national shame continues as the British people have to watch as its PM shuttles around Europe kowtowing on his hands and knees to Merkel and Macron.

    Personally, I don’t want to see my PM begging. It is pathetic and we have had enough of this puerile subservience.

    The public want a defiant, determined and focused leader not a lackey. It damages our nation and it damages its people

    Johnson needs to get us out of the EU or trot off back to a career in television entertainment

    • Kevin
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      This sets, or perhaps confirms, the expectation that nothing good can come
      of a Have I Got News for You premiership. Mr. Johnson undoubtedly
      made a strong start, using the word “tergiversate” at the despatch box, causing
      many to wonder if indeed he was ushering in a political renaissance. It is thirty
      years since we had a stateswoman in No. 10. How long till we get a statesman?

    • agricola
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Were I in Boris’s position I would have done the same and made a judgement on the two main players. From said judgement I would decide on the way forward.

      By now I would know whether they were open to an FTA and a way of conducting it. They in turn would know that the WA was long since dead and that anything mutually beneficial in it would come at the end of negotiations in treaty form. Any final or ongoing payments would be open t discusion. Above all else the EU would fully understand that they were in discusion with a fully sovereign nation not a degraded member state.

    • Ian terry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink


      Well said, you have covered all the concerns of many of us.

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink


      You do not read body language too well.

      My impression of his visit was he was instructing them of what will happen prior
      to and after 31/10/2019.

  13. Nig l
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Ps. Did I read the WA gives the EU some control over Gibraltar?

  14. agricola
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Yes the border issue and the backstop is a totally artificial construct designed by all in the WA negotiation to persuade us that staying in the EU is the wisest choice. T May should be condemned for her naivity, stupidity and almost certain duplicity.

    Trade between countries, whether in or out of the EU is conducted by complying with customer needs in terms of quality, standards, price, delivery, and supplying all the relevant information required. It is as simple as that. The intransigence of the EU is entirely political. First it must not be seen to be easy to leave the EU without penalty, because others might be tempted to follow. Making a national financial success of leaving would be the ultimate sin. Hence this artificial construct of thd Irish border.

    My hope is that Boris fully appreciates what you have written, and is not fooled into doing anything about the Irish border. He needs to engineer leaving the EU under WTO rules on 31st October while offering a FTA to be discussed/negotiated, and while this is going on and by mutual consent the invoking of Art 24 of GATT to provide stability while the FTA is under discussion. This is LEAVING WITH A DEAL. The onus is upon the EU to accept or be seen as the cause of a deal being impossible.
    The option is then to leave without a deal and no sense of guilt on the part of the UK.

    It is only then that sensible aspects of the WA can be put into a treaty under the auspices of the Vienna Convention. Genuine financial obligations can then be agreed, but not anywhere as great as the talked of £39 billion. It has already been established that under Art 50 there is no financial obligation so it is only a moral and self interest decision.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      What we are looking forward to is the significant rupture of relations between the UK and Europe. I don’t see an FTA or cooperation on police matters, data and other issues being discussed for at least a generation.

  15. Mark B
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Not only does it keep the UK in the SM and CU but it maintains the Four Freedoms. One of those freedoms is the free movement of capital. This means that companies in the UK have RoI companies to take advantage of the generous tax rates. Outside the EU they will have to be UK registered and pay UK tax.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    People waiting 15 days on average just to see a GP, months to see a consultant and years to get urgent operations. Thousands dying for lack of proper care and yet we have money for yet another celebrity chef for the NHS food!

    All to do with the forthcoming election I suppose. To win this election Boris needs a clean Brexit and a deal with Farage. If he does a bad W/A fudge (as now looks likely) he has no chance. Corbyn/McDonnall/SNP awaits.

  17. julie williams
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    The House of Commons and the EU have trapped us in a nightmare “Groundhog” day where a dispassionate review of actual facts has become irrelevant.

    Put simply; If there is a will, there will be a way.

    Like others, I am dismayed at Boris trotting around Europe and after Macron had said that there was no budging from the WA ( which he and other EU politicians seem to think is legally binding, May needs to answer some questions) I would have said,” OK, no meeting, I’ll do a bit of sightseeing and have lunch, when you want to talk you know where to find me”.

    On the other hand, I’m feeling generous today, so maybe Boris is trying to establish a reputation as the “bigger” man and show up the EU as petty in order to maintain popularity as “no deal” happens because he would either have to be incredibly stupid or determined to destroy the conservative party if he tried to push anything like the WA through.
    I do believe the he is a conservative at heart although a bit flaky , I also suspect that he knows that the House of Commons will not be inclined to pass any kind of deal because it is split by too many different agendas…..

    and let’s face it, like Captain Hook he has a crocodile waiting for him in the wings, so Tick Tock until 31 October or he gets eaten by Farage!

  18. Newmania
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    The only differential excise duty is fuel and there has been a vast problem with smuggling painfully fought at enormous cost with marking and checking . VAT is charged when the product is bought not when it crosses the border and currency is tradeable across border. So all rubbish as usual. The single market has standards , yes . If you do not comply you cannot enter it , yes , Once in trade is free across borders yet. Talking rubbish again
    We can already trade with whoever we like and far far better terms than WTO unless you are talking about ditching employment protection or environmental standards which you have promised not to for what its worth…… so more rubbish .
    I have to get back to work but do me a favour John rather than fly tipping this waste product into the public space take it up North and stick it into land fill will you.

    PS The one thing you are right about is the use the EU is making of the issue
    You are right a huge market is bullying a small one
    You got that wrong as well

    When was the last time you got one thing right ?

  19. Thames Trader
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    These are all good points. A question directed at the wider Brexit community, not you. Why is no-one standing up and asking these questions so the public can hear them ? Explain, Mr Tusk, what it is about the border that doesn’t work after we leave given that it all works today ?

  20. MickN
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    My take on this for what it is worth is that the Irish border issue has been put in as something that the EU can pull out like a rabbit from the hat at the last minute as them being “good old boys” by making the major concession at 11.55 in an effort to save the agreement. We will all then of course love them for ever for showing this flexibility to be nice to us. It won’t wash any more than project fear has but they will have to play it out.

  21. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I’d really like us to be out on 31st October. The Irish backstop is superfluous, as the WA won’t be accepted with it, and if we leave without agreement, that includes arrangements over the Irish border as well. I want the UK to be in a position where we can sign trade agreements with other countries straight away, not keeping them waiting yet longer. No to any more say by the EU in UK affairs, and no “transition period”, especially when we don’t know what we’re transitioning to. Further, no blank cheque to the EU.
    If the EU has moved on the Irish backstop, that’s not enough, Boris should keep up a momentum.

  22. Richard1
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Good summary. There is no point at all to brexit if either the backstop is agreed to or the current language in the political addendum is retained, committing the UK to customs union and regulatory alignment in the future. ‘Soft brexit’ as defined in the media is pointless and much worse than remain. Boris needs to stick to his guns on this.

    Equally I do not think it is realistic to say bin the whole WA. It’s bad but Conservative eurosceptic MPs who left Mrs May in office unchallenged for at least 18 months after it became clear just how useless she was must take some responsibility for this I fear. There will have to be a compromise.

  23. Jiminyjim
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    ‘The integrity of the Single Market’ has always been a badly disguised trick to keep us in the Customs Union and Single Market and hence paying the EU billions each year. How do I know? Switzerland in not in the Single Market or the CU and yet anyone who has crossed the Swiss border with France recently as I have will be aware that traffic, including goods traffic, flows across this border without hindrance in both directions. The other issue that is rarely mentioned is that the flow of goods in Ireland is much greater from south to north than the opposite. The issue of the border, more than any other, demonstrates that the EU in the last three years has not acted in good faith

    • AlmostDead
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      So you were in a lorry carrying live animals when you crossed the border? Otherwise your “experience” as a private citizen do not reflect those of commercial traffic

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        I was in commercial vehicles on the many occasions I crossed different borders between Switzerland and France in the last 5 years. Not carrying live animals, but the French and Swiss could not possibly have known that. No checks, no stops, no sign even of any people (other than gilets jaunes)
        Please don’t try to pretend that all the EU’s borders are hard and policed. It’s just not true! The Irish issue simply shows that some borders have more political leverage than others.

  24. ChrisS
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    All this could have been sorted two years ago if there was goodwill on all sides.

    Regrettably, there was a complete lack of goodwill on the Irish side of the border and from Brussels. This alone was enough to make our exit almost impossible to achieve, but we have also been faced with fanatical Europhiles in the media, business and also in Parliament. The actions of Conservative politicians trying to sabotage Brexit have been at best disloyal but in reality have bordered on the treacherous.

    A clearout from the green benches is long overdue.

  25. Monza 71
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    OK, so Boris gets a change to the backstop – a time limit or similar, but that doesn’t deal with the £39bn ( only a treasury estimate, remember ), and all the other obnoxious commitments contained within May’s WA.

    I had real hope that we would be making a clean break on 31st October, but now it’s looking like Boris might just be getting just enough wriggle room over the Irish issue to get the rest of May’s deal through the house.

    It was a bad deal in January, it’s still a bad deal today.

  26. barrz
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    This is a British border- it was never wanted by the vast majority of Irish people- and given the way demographics are going it won’t be there for very much longer- so instead time for you English parliamentarians to get real and look to the future- think about how a border is going to work between yourselves and Scotland?

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink


      “time for you English parliamentarians to get real and look to the future”

      They will do their best to stop the last bits of empire crumbling away.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Do the Englush have to try very hard when there us no majority for independence in NI or Scotland or Wales?

  27. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Despite all the deceit and shenanigans from the EU, our government still treats the EU as our friend, whereas the EU do the opposite to us and would laugh out loud if we had become a vassal state – Isn’t this taking the British attitude of fair play too far?
    You have to question the purpose, and indeed integrity, of the EU elite when they behave like schoolboy bullies, as they do so frequently. They intend to get their way by any means.
    How much has the EU interfered in British politics?
    One day it will all come out.
    The backstop is just one more example that the EU cannot be trusted to play fair, or even be honest about things – They prefer to make their decisions in secret, and to hide their real intent behind bluster.
    The EU is run by the unelected and unaccountable, and they have shown many times that they are not there to make life better for the average citizen of their promised land.

    • DaveK
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Would a friend do a trade deal that could possibly damage another member? Look at the EU – Japan deal with zero tariffs on cars which could make the Japanese up sticks and totally leave the UK. Consider the new EU – USA deal on importing much more beef. Since they have made a statement that the total beef import is not increasing, which part of the current import is going to decrease?

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris

      “The EU is run by the unelected and unaccountable”

      Unlike our own el presidente Johnson, foisted on us by a handful of tory establishment cronies.

      As for the EU elite behaving like schoolboy bullies, at least they don’t put their feet on the table when visiting the leaders of other countries. Can’t imagine Macron putting his feet on the table during a visit to Buckingham palace.

      Oh the shame of it.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

        margaret howard

        We have one major advantage of the EU that you love so much – We can vote a government out of power – We cannot do that with the EUC – We are stuck with them no matter how corrupt they are, how much cronyism they perpetuate and when they are found out they will never face any repercussions.

        • bill brown
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink


          YOu are getting carried away , it does not help your arguments

          • BillM
            Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

            Hmm! So when did you last vote for a EU Commissioner – the only ones allowed to set EU Laws?
            Boris is an elected MP – if his constituents choose they can actually vote him out of power, for these days, our PM, must be from the HoC, an elected body. The people have absolutely no say in who Governs the European citizens in the EU.
            Even the election of a new leader is a stitch up between Germany and France. And for further proof of their anti-democratic ways, read the report from a new pro-EU Green Party MEP who is totally dismayed with the way the EU operates.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        You’re showing your lack of understanding again, MH. Macron suggested Boris use the table as a footstool. BJ did so for a joke. Do at least try to be better informed.

  28. George Brooks
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The Border issue is a complete and utter ‘red herring’ and it has risen to the top in the EU agenda as the best way to keep us tied into the EU. Further more the EU know we will ‘out trade them’ and prosper as soon as we are free. We will be a shining example of how one can succeed when free of the EU regulations. That is the last thing they want on their doorstep plus the huge loss of the £39bn

    Our political ”snakes” produced Chequers to soften up public opinion and then the disgusting WA which is no more than total capitulation. Boris walked out after Chequers and he should keep walking and reject the WA totally.

    In fairness to Boris when he was exchanging views with Merkel in front of the world media he did say and I quote ”the WA is dead” If he is to be believed he needs to say this many more time times in the days ahead so that Merkel, Macron et al fully understand our position.

    Boris should not ignore Farage as he expresses the view of the general public and we don’t fully trust the PM. The Tory party and the government is on a knife edge until he can be trusted completely to get us clear of the EU on 31 October.

  29. Sydney Ashurst
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Parliament rejected the withdrawal Agreement for many reasons. But it was a decisive defeat. Boris Johnson caved in the third time but John Redwood and others remained strong.
    Many of the MP’s voting against it did so because they simply do not want to leave the EU. Theresa May even tried to bribe a few Labour MP’s and failed.
    Why did the leader of the opposition whip his party against the WA? Was it to placate the likes of Tom Watson or as a means of having a GE. How many MP’s saw the WA for the disaster it would be?
    If the WA was to come back to the Commons without the backstop would it change the voting intentions in its favour? I suggest an emphatic NO. No MP could face their constituents having condemned them to vassalage.

  30. Pat
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I suspect that Eire fears that the jobsworths at the EU will impose a border similar to the Poland/Ukraine one unless sufficient fuss is made before we leave.
    No it wouldn’t make sense, but neither do the Poland/Ukraine border arrangements.

    • Ken Grayson
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Of course it will be similar. Why wouldnt it be? It is the external border of the EU. You voted to be outside it

      • Edward2
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        So the EU is like the old USSR then Ken
        Ie protectionist, strictly controlled borders, limited imports.
        Next they will want to stop EU residents leaving.

  31. Man of Kent
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Did anyone notice that the Telegraph published just the first page of the BJ letter to Tusk.?

    I had to find the full text elsewhere and I have commented to my MP on the lines of ‘ Oh dear this looks like Brexit being turned into Fudgit with the backstop removed and the rest of the WA remaining ‘

    During the campaign for Boris ‘ election I was told by another MP that the whole WA would go and a new law to protect NI veterans would be introduced .
    It seems both of us could end up very unhappy.

  32. NickC
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    JR, A first class summary, thank you. I shall plunder it for ideas.

  33. Bob
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Suella Braverman interviewed on R4 Toady about the Irish border. She was asked how are you going to stop people just walking across the border? She waffled and avoided answering the question.

    The answer she should have given is of course is that we’re not. But the people doing so without valid travel documents will be treated in the same way as the people who rock up in rubber boats on our beaches every day.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

      Once you find them …… underground economy here we come

  34. steadyeddie
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Your last two sentences rather give the game away. The ‘backstop’ is an agreement to prevent the potential problems of the border arising but it is the ERG and their like who do not want it. The fall back is the WA but you do not want that either hence the EU asking ‘what do you want?’. WTO is not the majority view. ‘What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive’.

  35. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink
  36. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Boris is sailing close to the wind on this issue. Brexiteers will not accept a fudge. The WA does nothing for us and is in effect a death warrant for the UK. I thought Boris was made of sterner stuff and I thought he meant that we would be leaving. The EU will get the better deal and that is not acceptable. May turned us over. I just hope Boris isn’t going to do the same.

  37. Temmu
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    John Redwood has consistently said we will take back control of our borders once we leave the EU. Now he tells us we will leave our only land border wide open to any and every illegal immigrant. That is NOT what i voted for.

    Reply Not so

  38. NigelE
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    The EU continue to state that as we made the decision to leave, the border is our problem. But you are right: it is their single market, therefore their problem. I wish our government (and maybe our MEPs) would push back on this.

    It will be interesting to see by how much the French stretch/break WTO rules on inspection of UK goods, and how much additional bureaucracy they add compared to goods from other third countries.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

      No WTO rules broken, just the same level of inspections as the rest of the world. The UK will be treated as other 3rd countries

  39. Terry Grealish
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    You say checks have to be proportionate and appropriate under WTO rules. And you are completely wrong. WTO rules contain no such requirement

  40. Pud
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the government should ask the SNP how they plan to handle the England/Scotland border once Scotland leaves the UK and rejoins the EU?

  41. jerry
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    An irrelevance unless Boris can find some more MPs to vote with the whip…

  42. Alan Joyce
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    There are pictures of the PM arriving back in Downing Street seemingly punching the air in some sort of victory ceremony, as if he has pulled off a magnificent triumph.

    I understand that you and your fellow Eurosceptic MP’s have informed Mr. Johnson that amendments to the backstop or even its removal will simply not do? I have seen nothing in reports to suggest that other objectionable aspects of the WA were even mentioned during Mr. Johnson’s visits to Berlin and Paris.

    Is that it then? All the talk and the big idea is simply to reform or remove the backstop and bring the WA back to the House and squeak it through on the back of Labour votes. It looks like it to me and I suspect many others. Surely, the new leadership in No. 10 cannot be that stupid?

    Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party look as though they will be needed more than ever.

    • jerry
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      @Alan Joyce; Last paragraph, indeed if your intent is to have Corbyn in Downing Street, either in his own right or as leader of a coaltion, yet only a line or two above you complain about others being “stupid”!….

      • Alan Joyce
        Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Dear Mr. Redwood,


        I do not wish to see Corbyn anywhere near Downing Street but I do want to see a clean Brexit and the UK re-assert itself as a fully independent self-governing nation. A Withdrawal Agreement minus the backstop would not achieve that.

        If the Conservative Party leadership pursues such a path then it deserves what it gets.

        I accept Corbyn could be a disaster for this Nation but I will not support a party that stands on a ticket of ‘accept this bad deal in perpetuity or Corbyn the bogeyman will come and get you’.

  43. Stred
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Tariffs on agricultural products have been set at zero for NI but for the rest of the UK they will be similar to the EU rates in order to protect farmers. The Southern Irish will seek to stop customers from the south going to Tescos in the North and buying cheap beef from Argentina. The UK will have to decide whether to allow cheaper imports coming into NI being sold in the mainland. Who thought of this arrangement?

  44. oldwulf
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    “States are good at knocking tax off business accounts without needing to collect fivers when the truck arrives”

    Fivers ?

    More like twenties and fifties !

  45. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The Irish border problem is not one of economics at all. It is a matter of power: who controls the EEA?
    If it is the EU then we have to stay in the EU to trade within the EEA. On their terms.
    If it is the UK government, then we are right outside the EEA and are refused trade terms until some kind of agreement is reached and that takes sometimes decades to fix up.
    Me? I voted for the Efta solution.
    Now? Well we need to find another trading partner outside the EU.
    Now let me see…

  46. Dominic
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Hammond, the man who genuinely despises the UK and all that it is. A truly reprehensible politician who encapsulates all that is wrong with the Tory party

  47. Iain Moore
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    It has been remis of the Brexiteers to allow the remainers to call it the NI/Irish border issue, which makes it sound like a Berlin wall stand off, when as you say most areas that cover a border policy have been sorted out. The most important being people, we have free movement with Ireland, duties, VAT, agriculture , security etc. The one area we don’t have agreement is trade in goods, possibly the least important area, for I don’t know about anybody else, but when I buy something online and its shipped from Hong Kong , I don’t have to go to Heathrow or Tilbury docks to clear it with customs, and it is that which the remainers are using to block Brexit and what they call the ‘border’.

  48. Newmania
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Hem hem… Allow me to phrase my points in more courtly style
    1- The only differential excise duty is fuel and there has been a vast problem with smuggling painfully fought at enormous cost with marking and checking .
    2- VAT is charged when the product is bought not when it crosses the border
    3-Currency is tradeable across border.
    4- The single market has standards and like any regulated market must have border.
    5- We can already trade with whoever we like and far far better terms than WTO unless you are talking about ditching employment protection or environmental standards which you have promised not to
    You are right about the use the EU is making of the issue, a huge market is bullying a small one . This is not a surprise is it ?

    • Edward2
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Point 1
      There are other differences like duty on luxury cars and farm animals.
      Point 3
      What does this mean?
      Currencies are tradeable all over the world.
      Point 4
      Any company selling into another country has to meet the requirements of that country
      That goes on every day and has done for decades.
      Point 5
      We cannot have different UK trade terms with other countries until we leave the EU

  49. Terry Grealish
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I would be interested if you can cite one example on planet Earth of countries which share a land border, have different rules on tariffs, tax and production standards, and yet have no physical infrastructure at the border.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Good question,
      I wonder what do Norway and Sweden do?
      Romania and Moldova?
      Bulgaria and Turkey?
      Albania and Greece?

      • Andy
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:26 am | Permalink

        Norway and Sweden have a hard border.

        So do Bulgaria and Turkey.

        And Albania and Greece.

        There are no examples anywhere on Earth of what you ask.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Minor roads on virtually every border in the world are uncontrolled. The sole exceptions tend to be areas under tension eg North and South Korea. Let me challenge you, Terry G, to come up with a single country on the EU/Europe border where there is border infrastructure even on the smallest rural crossings!

    • James1
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      There are lots. Try to keep up.

  50. rose
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    If the EU really can’t face backing down on this, they should be creative and put their border across the Celtic Sea instead of down the Irish Sea.

  51. Christine
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Very little trade goes across the border. This issue has been blown up to stop Brexit or at least implement BRINO.

    Look at what goods go over the border into Ireland and mitigate the concerns people have.

    For example a farmer was on TV telling us he sends his livestock over the border to be slaughtered and then brings the meat back to NI. Just build a slaughter house in NI then it doesn’t need to go across the border.

    I’ve yet to meet anyone that can explain why collecting tariffs is any different from collecting excise duty which already happens.

    This border is already porous as are most borders in the world. The majority of exports from Ireland to the EU go via the UK so how can the single market be at risk?

    Ireland is playing a very dangerous game with its intransigence. The EU doesn’t care about Ireland and will throw them under the bus when it suits them. The Irish need to wake up and see who their real friends are.

    • AlmostDead
      Posted August 24, 2019 at 12:00 am | Permalink

      “The Irish need to wake up and see who their real friends are.” Definitely not the English with this attitude!

  52. Christine
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I voted for Boris Johnson to become leader. I wasn’t convinced he would give us a clean Brexit but he gave a better chance than Hunt. I have now learned that he is no better than Mrs May “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

    I’ll now be fighting for The Brexit Party with their policy “Change politics for good”. It’s time we got rid of the two party system in this country that constantly lets down the British people.

  53. Kenneth
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The Irish border fake argument is a good example of collaboration between the eu and Remain forces in the UK.

    It’s a dark stain on some of our media – including the BBC – which has also been complicit in the border myth.

    It is the worse kind propaganda based on a falsehood.

  54. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I’m getting a bit tired of sending letters to the Irish newspapers, inevitably with a very poor success rate, when the hypothetical “rapid rebuttal unit” supposedly set up by Michael Gove two weeks ago:

    is still not doing anything to rebut anything, rapidly or otherwise, and I increasingly doubt that it even exists or he ever had any intention of setting it up. Do you think you could ask him, JR, when will the stream of rapid rebuttals start to flow?

    Anyway I have just sent this letter to the Irish Independent, with references:

    “Dear Sir

    Kevin Doyle writes (August 22nd, ‘Dublin and Brussels know full well what no deal will mean – but won’t say it out loud yet’):

    “In truth, if there was a genuine substitute for the backstop then surely it would have been in Ireland’s interest to put it on the table a long time ago.”

    Not necessarily, because “a long time ago”, namely November 26th 2017, Irish Commissioner Phil Hogan publicly demanded that in order to “solve” the border “problem” the UK must stay under the rules of the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market forever.

    And, as Leo Varadkar has publicly stated, as far as the Irish government is concerned that would be the next best thing to the UK staying in the EU.

    So it has been very much in Ireland’s interest to make a mountain out of a molehill on the border, and deny that there can be any solutions which do not involve the UK remaining subject to swathes of EU laws in perpetuity.

    Which may seem fine from the Irish point of view, until it becomes apparent that Leo Varadkar has overplayed his hand, the British have been pushed too far, and it ends up with the UK leaving without any withdrawal agreement.

    Yours sincerely

    Dr D R Cooper etc

    Commissioner Hogan, November 26th 2017:

    “Brexit: Remain in customs union and single market to solve border issue, Ireland’s European commissioner tells May”

    “Mr Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner, said Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the border issue, and said it was a “very simple fact” that “if the UK or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue”.”

    Leo Varadkar, November 1st 2018:

    “Obviously, the best outcome would be for the UK not to leave the European Union at all, but the UK has ruled that out. An alternative solution would be for the UK to stay in the Single Market and the customs union, staying in the European Economic Area, EEA … “

  55. bigneil
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    I see another 61 have arrived for a life on us. God knows how many they will get the “right” to bring in as so-called “family”. Does anyone ever check that they are actually family and not some completely unrelated person who has paid the successfully arrived criminal to get them here? Had this lot heard that a million new homes were going to be built – and wanted first pick? Even the BBC said some claimed to be “minors” – the punctuation marks seemingly indicating doubt on their age claims.

    • rose
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      “Minors” can, if classified as asylum seekers, get free university education as well as everything else. Their smartphones tell them all this. You can look it up on the internet too.

  56. a-tracy
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Ireland is allowed a completely different corporation tax rate, giving businesses there a competitive advantage over Northern Ireland businesses yet we just suck it up.

  57. Mark Leigh
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Although Farage thinks BoJo may be about to “capitulate to fudge”, I suspect JRM will be making it very clear and reminding the PM what the other issues are with the WA…

    • Chris
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Mark, I am not so confident in J R-M and others. The Tory Party always look to save themselves, and they (Boris et al) mistakenly believe that if they spin this enough we will feel so grateful to them for producing a solution to the backstop and will show wholehearted support for them.

      Nothing can be further from the truth. The WA has to be ditched (and I believe that Boris won the leadership election with that “promise”). The Dublin Agreement of Dec 2017, on which the WA was based, represented a “complete capitulation” to the EU (Charles Moore’s words) and the WA and Political Declaration would ensure we were a vassal state of the EU. Absolutely unacceptable. If you betray us Boris, you will be out, and the Cons Party will be destroyed. There has never been more need for the Brexit Party. I believe we are in very dangerous times.

  58. BillM
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The Irish Border issue is a Red Herring, created by the Brussels mafia desperately trying to keep Britain under their control. The current Open Border was established as part of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). That Agreement was signed by the UK , NI, Eire and the USA and was not time limited.
    The EU, including the UK, were signatories to the Vienna Convention of 1969 on The Law of Treaties, which became effective in 1980.
    As I understand, it basically decrees a agreed formula for writing Treaties and that such treaties are protected under International Law.
    For the EU to impose a hard border in Ireland would be a breach of the GFA and thus contrary to International Law.
    I would like to know why this approach has not been developed by the Government and inform us why it cannot be introduced if indeed that is the case.
    Furthermore, our new Government should insist Brussels explain their outrageous demands when it has been made clear by both Parties that a Hard Border would not be created even after a No Deal exit.

    • BillM
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I would also add that Mrs Merkel and M Macron’s “generous” allowance of 30 days for OUR Prime Minister to sort the Back Stop issue, is an insult to Boris and his new Cabinet and MUST be treated with the contempt it deserves.
      It is time this country adopted the negotiation tactics of the current world champion negotiator, Mr Trump and we do hold the ‘Aces’ here.
      After three years of wasted time and May’s pathetic subservience, let the EU now do the running, else we are outta there!

  59. a-tracy
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t like all this ill-will that is being stirred up by Varadker on behalf of the EU. I also think Arlene needs to help to find a solution and maybe allow a sea border, because problems with goods flowing between Northern and Southern Ireland can’t easily leak out to the rest of Europe or can they? People should be checked when gaining passage off the Island, we needed our passports or photo id driving licence to get a plane to Scotland and they are within the UK.

    So just to clarify – the EU is concerned that Northern Ireland will import lots of products that wouldn’t be allowed into Southern Ireland under EU rules and Southern Ireland people will buy them across the unchecked border then forward them into the rest of the EU causing a lack of tax collection for the EU and maybe products, if Southern Ireland exporters were corruptable, to be exported out by Southern Ireland companies unchecked? Why would Southern Ireland risk the big EU fines doing that?

  60. a-tracy
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Why are the UK making all the concessions yet Ireland can hold us to ransom? We are bloody fools. NO your insurance doesn’t count if ours doesn’t end of.

    Re Green Cards.
    He said: “Valid Irish insurance discs will now serve the same purpose as Green Cards.

    “Effectively that negates the need for additional documentation for any Irish-registered vehicles travelling to the UK, including Northern Ireland, in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.”

    The MIBI said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Green Cards will still be needed for UK-registered vehicles visiting other EU countries, including Ireland.

  61. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I cannot understand why Boris Johnson keeps failing to mention that the UK has already put it into law that the government cannot make any changes on our side of the border:

    Has the Irish Parliament passed any similar legal prohibition for their side?

    Not as far as I am aware; so why not? Isn’t it time to expose their hypocrisy?

    Stop pussy-footing around and get stuck in with hard-hitting propaganda.

    • Chris
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Denis, what happened to Gove’s rebuttal unit? Another myth on the part of Boris and his Government?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        There is no evidence that it exists, or that it was ever intended to exist.

  62. tim
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    We own the BBC, why do we not put this information in endless propaganda films made by LEAVE, and force the BBC British Brainwashing Corporation, to show it at prime time, breakfast TV time and night time? The Answer = the Tories rich controllers do not want to leave!

  63. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    BJ fell into the May trap of going to their courts – why is beyond me if he is genuine.

    Unfortunately any MP who voted for the WA is suspect.

    It is up to Merkel to solve the EU single market border issue not us, the UK is supposedly Leaving and their £90b trade surplus is at risk. Why should we shore this up? The UK is not building a border.

    Her 30 day ultimatum is a rank insult.

  64. tim
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink


  65. Peter
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Very interesting post, John, but I can’t help wondering what about if the roles were reversed? Say Wales or Scotland left the UK, and decided that they wanted to produce or import goods that did not meet the UK safety and quality standards. What would be the UK’s desired approach then?

    Reply If Scotland had voted out of the UK it would be no concern of mine or the UK’s what imports they wanted to allow or what domestic standards they had. They would not be able to sell them on to us if they did not meet UK standards.

  66. lojolondon
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Dear John, you are totally correct, and many people do not realise that the EU and Ireland have both committed to no hard border. Yet the BBC keeps saying that ‘the backstop is required’. Here is a clip from the Irish parliament showing both Varadkar and Junkers committing to no hard border.

  67. julie williams
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    The EU will hang on to the backstop until the bitter end, it’s too valuable a threat to give up; you want to disrupt peace, you want to be responsible for terrorism, you want to go back to the bad old days?
    Without it, the negotiation between the UK and EU turns into a bog-standard divorce settlement and a bog-standard trade deal like that with Japan or the USA.
    The EU isn’t used to losing and doesn’t like to concede, it sees itself as a big player, bigger than the sum of it’s parts.
    How many times did we see countries told to vote again, how many times did we see governments ignore their voters wishes…and we weren’t even given a say for fear that we would say “no”.
    Wasn’t this part of the reason you voted to leave the EU?
    It was for me and it’s why I want to leave even more now.

  68. Richard Harris
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    One would think that the EU did not have any other borders with non-EU countries.

    • Mark
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      The borders between the EEC and Switzerland were open long before Schengen.

    • Andy
      Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      The EU has lots of borders with lots of countries.

      And – surprise surprises – they have infrastructure for checking goods and/or people.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Andy’s usual nonsense. Get out there and look, rather than just spouting falsehoods

        • Andy
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Tell us where then – the EU has a completely open border for goods with a non member state. (Aside from the Vatican which manufacturers only postcards).

          I’ll wait.

          • Jiminyjim
            Posted August 24, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            There are literally hundreds of open crossings – choose any minor road and see for yourself. Sometimes there isn’t even a sign to show where the border is.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Andy, you are wrong. We crossed the borders from Spain into France with shot guns on board (legal of course) and found unmanned borders and weren’t even checked getting onto the Channel Tunnel train. Do stop going on dear.

      • BillM
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        I do believe there are several EU members which border non-EU Switzerland and they have no problems shipping goods. Likewise Norway and Sweden and Finland and Russia.
        Boris should tell Brussels to go make their own arrangements for Ireland as it is of no concern of ours.

  69. Kathleen P
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    What happened to the rhetoric about “the Withdrawal Agreement is dead”? Since Theresa May introduced the WA we have all had a long period of familiarising ourselves with its terms – and we Brexiteers hate it. It isn’t just the backstop, as you well know, Sir John. The backstop was, however, a neat term to describe the unacceptable face of it in soundbites.

    You know, people had lost trust in Theresa May and her Government and the Tories in general. If we are found to be fools who have been duped yet again by Boris for the sake of saving his Party, there will be no forgiveness. The Tories will be toast and Nigel will merely have to frame his Party as the only one left with any integrity for him to gather the forces of true conservative values, snarkily called ‘populism’, to keep them out of office for good.

  70. DaveK
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    There are two memes I generally see on the internet and see on news items from the Remain side.

    1. Once the UK has a trade deal with the USA, they will (i.e. Us) flood Ireland with US beef and washed chicken. This is strange as the EU has just entered into an agreement with the US to import more beef and no doubt random checks of any chicken supplied by the UK would highlight the scourge of washed chicken and heavy penalties may ensue. Much like when we were supplied with horse instead of beef (Oh No silly me).

    2. Visitors will be able to turn up in Ireland and then walk unmolested over into NI and subsequently hop on some transport and then get into UK (Boo Hiss). It should be noted that all these “visitors” will have had to have photo ID to get into Ireland and they should also be checked when boarding transport leaving from NI to UK (if only for safety and security reasons). The showing of this ID however, will subsequently lead to a reintroduction of terrorism.

    Fake problems all.

  71. Ian Pennell
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    The whole issue is that the Back-stop- ostensibly to ensure smooth trade between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic and to prevent a return to political violence in the region- is being used by the EU (and a number on the Left) as a means of beating the Conservative-led Government into submission. Neither Mr Jean Claude Juncker nor Michael Barnier want Britain to succeed and they want to send out a message to other EU countries who might be like- minded that “It is Not Worth It!”.

    Meanwhile, Remainer MPs (which make up the majority) are actively undermining the government (as they did with Theresa May) with back- channels of communication to the EU whilst plotting to take over the legislature to pass legislation stopping Britain from leaving the EU without a deal. Why would the EU offer Britain anything if they see that the Power is with the Remainer Parliament (and possible High Court judges who could rule “No Deal” illegal)? Neither Michael Barnier nor Jean-Claude Juncker are of a mind to offer anything but Theresa May’s disastrous Withdrawal Agreement; it is not really in the gift of Chancellor Angela Merkel (who is very weakened politically in Germany) to promise concessions on the Backstop.

    Unless the Prime Minister Boris Johnson pre- empts Parliament by going for a snap General Election (for well before 31st October)- as soon as Parliament convenes and fights on a “Parliament vs The People” popular pro- growth platform (and with a promise that it will be a “No Deal” Brexit so that Brexit Party supporters come home)- there will be no Brexit on 31st October: Only such measures will eviscerate Remainer MPs and Remainer Parties so that Britain gets a true good Brexit by 31st October (with no Backstop). If the Prime Minister baulks at calling an Election ASAP and “Going for No Deal” we will either have that disastrous Vassalage Treaty or Brexit will be delayed or (Heaven forbid) revoked by statute.

    Surely you Sir can see that! Up to 40 MPs from your own Party are plotting to stymie Boris Johnson- they need clearing out so that you can get to that clean break that 17.4 million folk voted for over three years ago. And with a poll showing Boris Johnson 14 points ahead he will have nothing to lose (unless he has a disastrous Theresa May style campaign- and he won’t!). Perhaps you could communicate the essence of a snap Election to him -which will require 67% of MPs to vote for it (I am sure Labour will go for an Election thinking that they could pull off another upset like 2017!).

    Ian Pennell

  72. bigneil
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Off topic

    I have just had a letter from British Gas telling me the expected cost for my same gas usage for the 12 months from the soon to occur next price rise – just under 21%. I HAVE to pay it – or face legal threats/get cut off etc – whereas, as far as I know, foreign freeloaders, so long as they keep producing babies in their ( funded by us) homes CANNOT have their gas heating cut off, by law. Has been shown on tv where they run bills up into the hundreds, knowing nothing can be done to them.
    With a rise of just under 21% I wonder how many English pensioners will face the “heat or eat” choice again. Anyone would think that you all hate old white working class people – because everything points that way !
    I only have a gas cooker, that doesn’t get used everyday – the central heating is solid fuel. God knows what the annual gas bill for someone with a family, cooking every day AND central heating on is going to face.

    I assume my state pension won’t be going up by the same %age.

    • Andy
      Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      My taxes fund your state pension – £168.80 a week, nearly £9k a year.

      They also fund up to £300 for your winter fuel payment. You probably get a bus pass and a TV licence too.

      So your £10k plus of benefits is part of the problem. Pensioners are the real free loaders. The foreigners you criticise are largely entitled to claim nothing – and we know that migrants contribute more than they cost.

      Oh – and your bill is going up because the value of Sterling went down. And Sterling went down because of Brexit. Which you voted for. Diddums.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        It has been said before, you are wrong andy, National Insurance payments fund pensions.
        You need 30 plus years of contributions logged against your account to get a full state pension.

      • BillM
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Andy Capp, Pensioner Free-Loaders? What an idiot you are proving to be. The State pension system is funded by those working and paying taxes. Those drawing pensions now will have paid £Thousands over the years, if they have indeed worked here. They, therefore qualify for the State pension. You ignore the fact that Pensioners also pay tax every time they buy something and that many of them still pay income tax because of the Occupational Pensions they have also contributed to. These facts seem to have passed you by.
        Remember it is taxes that fund the benefits for the Nation. You too will get your State pension IF you have actually earned it by paying your NI Taxes. However, if not you will still benefit from a Government handout paid by the workers at the time.
        Would that now make you a “Free-Loader”?

  73. Lorna
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    GETTING concerned about direction Boris is taking ! Is this an elaborate ruse or does he really plan to introduce the WA with a three year transition and no backstop ?
    That was not what he promised ! He does not understand how dangerous such a transition agreement would be as it allows the EU to interfere in fishing and impose regulations on the City which is not popular with them
    Hope he understands that Leavers are totally disillusioned with politicians and would not hesitate to drop him !
    We would be in EU for Italian bailout and who knows what other financial obligation
    I just hope Boris does not disappoint his supporters

    • Oldwulf
      Posted August 23, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      @Lorna. Mr Farage is waiting in the wings. Hopefully, this will focus Mr Johnson’s mind – otherwise the Brexit Party will clean up.

  74. mancunius
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    It is of course possible that Johnson is deliberately making it problematic for Parliament to block ongoing talks with Berlin and Paris for the next two months (for Merkel has now qualified her ’30-day’ deadline by saying it was just a symbolic number, and that the deadline for an agreement is really 31st October). The WA without the backstop is in truth utterly putrid in its entirety and incompatible with UK independence, but it corresponds to the Brady Amendment, which was passed by the Commons, and for Parliament to continually object to its own legislation is looking increasingly bizarre – so the vonc-ers are temporarily weakened.
    And yet I’m very uneasy about Boris’s strategy – it gives off far too many ambiguous signals, and is too much a hostage to fortune. An independent Britain trading freely with the world is a vital economic prize of Brexit that should be proclaimed, and the WA should not even be spoken of as if it has a potential life. It is a rotting carcase: let it rot in silence.

  75. Edwardm
    Posted August 23, 2019 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    This article is a useful reality check for remoaners and defeatists – there are answers and solutions to all administrative problems if you look for them..
    The UK is confident it can continue operating an open border as at present, and it knows how to do so.
    The international norm is that a country is responsible for its side of a border. So it is for the EU to find a means of satisfying its single market needs and satisfying the GFA.
    However it seems that the EU wants us, the UK, to provide a solution for its border – in which case it has to accept our advice – which is to do the same as we do, as the issues are symmetrical.
    If the EU want to be awkward and doesn’t want our solution, then that is its problem – a mental attitude that only it can sort out for itself – perhaps when it eventually sees the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around the EU.

    The sooner we have FTAs with other democracies around the world – the better.

  • 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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