If the EU will not negotiate….

The Prime Minister has made an offer to the EU to get talks started to allow us to leave with their blessing on October 31. The EU has responded in their time honoured way by rubbishing any feature of the proposal that is better for the UK than the unacceptable Withdrawal Agreement which perished in Parliament and got under 9% support in the  last European elections. It is most important now that the UK does not do what it always did under Mrs May and make further concessions. The EU has found it all too easy to refuse to budge and watch as the UK negotiates with itself and against itself.

I voted for Boris Johnson as leader because he promised to take us out by 31 October, and he confirmed the Withdrawal Agreement was dead. He must learn from the bitter experiences of Mr Cameron and Mrs May that the EU does usually overplay its hand and radicalises many UK voters against it by its conduct.

Mr Cameron asked for too little in his attempted renegotiation and was offered even less as a result. That led directly to the referendum defeat, as he did not even secure the return of UK control over benefits when we had often be assured by UK governments that social security remained under our control.

Mrs May always refused to dig in or to cease making concessions. Every tine the EU dug in she gave more ground. The result was a disastrous Withdrawal Treaty which united Leave and Remain in opposition to it.

The present PM needs to tell the EU that his Irish border proposals to get talks going are neither an invitation to assume the text of the rest of the Withdrawal treaty is fine, nor an invitation to get rid of all the best bits of the border fix from the UK point of view in subsequent one sided compromises.. The press when the PM launched the ideas said it was take it or leave it. To change that approach now would be seen as weakness in Brussels.

The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement and no Withdrawal Agreement.

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  1. BW
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    I don’t want any more concessions. With this offer will we still be subservient to the ECJ

    • Hope
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink


      There is no other choice than leave without a withdraw agreement. Martin Howe QC is absolutely right. I read a former diplomat account yesterday and he is also right. The EU has not acted in good faith or accord with Article 50(2). The future relationship should be discussed in tandem.

      Mayhab’s servitude plan let the EU decide sequencing of talks placing the U.K. in a straight jacket before any future relationship/trade talks began! Macron did make it clear that the UK would stay in a customs union unless the EU got what it wanted from trade talks. EU parliament bragging how UK would be a trade colony! Was Mayhab and Robbins that dense? Mayhab went off at night to allow the Irish backstop in 2017, what on earth was she thinking unless it was to keep the UK in the EU by another name? Her dishonest Kitkat policy still not investigated. Much more vital to U.K. Interests than any Johnson smear at the moment.

      There is no other choice to have a good relationship with the EU than leave without a Withdrawal Agreement that is not required by article 50 of the Treaty.

      • Hope
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        JR, most people view a speed limit as a target rather than the maximum limit allowed. Depending on road and weather conditions motorists speeds should be lower than the limit.

        Similarly the 31/10/2019 was a maximum extension granted by the EU under EU law. The national surrender Act is inferior to this. I see no reason not to leave on a date earlier than the Benn surrender bill requires when it is clear an agreement cannot be reached. Therefore no extension required or needed. Friday 11 or Monday 14th October should be fine. It then leaves a few weeks for more mini agreements to help both sides adjust.

  2. Tabulazero
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    But wait… didn’t you say that the UK held all the cards in the upcoming negotiation ?
    You did.

    The EU sees the latest British proposal for what it is: something that was cynically designed to be rejected so that the ERG can blame the EU’s so called intransigence when the UK leaves without a deal as it wanted all along.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      We do hold all the cards. We have had ‘negotiators’ who want to lose so they don’t play their cards.

      • Here and Now
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Love it! The old “communism didn’t work because they just didn’t try it hard enough” argument

        • Syme
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          Hardly, comprehension is obviously not your thing.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          Quite. It’s a bit like the “you can walk on water if only you believe devoutly enough” too.


          • libertarian
            Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink


            No , not like that at all. If you had a clue about business , trade and new technology you might begin to understand why too

      • JoolsB
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Absolutely right Mike. May held all the trump cards until she threw them all away.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      We hold many cards but members of our own side are holding a mirror up behind our backs.

  3. Pominoz
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Only absolute capitulation by the UK will satisfy the EU. The ‘Remainiac’ MPs are embedded agents of the EU and deserve to be treated as such once Brexit is achieved.

    As you rightly say, the only acceptable option is a clean break WTO exit, no transition period, no £39 billion payment. Once we are out then the UK will pay what is legally owed, as assessed by an independent arbiter, an nothing more.

    Boris must find a way to negate the effects of the Benn act.

  4. Here and Now
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    The UK has been offered a disastrous deal. It is also the best it is going to get. This is because the UK is by far the weaker party in this negotiation. Time you Brexiters stopped whining, and realised all your stories about us holding all the cards are baloney. Brexit is a catastrophe, and there is only one set of people to blame – those who supported Brexit

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      We, with a huge trade deficit, do hold a strong hand. But we have never played it! We had a PM who capitulated right at the beginning when she agreed to the EU’s position of ‘no talks on the future until after a Withdrawal Agreement has been concluded’. Right at the beginning she folded. And a Remainer Parliament has made sure we have thrown away our hand.

      • Leona Fish
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Always someone else’s fault. Never ever will a Brexiter take responsibility like a grownup

        • libertarian
          Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink


          Says someone who needs their life run by a nanny state


  5. Shirley
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement and no Withdrawal Agreement.

    100% agree. Democracy must survive, with the UK as a sovereign self governing country. We can dispose of the undemocratic MP’s providing our democracy survives, but the priority is to escape the undemocratic EU.

    • Andy
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      We are a sovereign self governing country.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Read the Treaties of Lisbon and Mastricht.

      • Pud
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Perhaps you would like to offer your definition of “a sovereign self governing country”? I suggest that as the UK is compelled to follow EU law the UK is not self governing.

        • Here and Now
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          What nonsense. The UK follows EU law because it chooses to, as a result of a Treaty entered into freely – no different from NATO, the UN and your precious WTO

          • Edward2
            Posted October 8, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            None of the three bodies you compare the EU to can impose laws on us.

        • Andy
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          We sit around the table and agree EU law with 27 other countries.

          They do not force it on us. It is agreed

          Genuinely – four years on and you are still peddling nonsense.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 8, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

            Laws are developed by the Commission.
            As are new directives, regulations and rules.
            There is no sitting round tables by the UK chatting about these things.
            MEPs in the European Parliament rubber stamp these things into law and member states do the same.

          • Pud
            Posted October 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            Let’s pretend you’re correct and every single EU law was agreed by the UK. Now explain the contradiction that Remainers claim that UK employment rights will be eroded when we leave the EU. Why should this be the case when in your fantasy every EU law is exactly what the UK government wanted?

          • libertarian
            Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink



            Ive showed you this multiple times

            EU directives are NOT discussed, NOT approved, DO NOT come before parliament and they override all UK laws

            They are genuinely forced on us. We have no say.

            Its laughable how the remainers tie themselves in no but yeh but knots because they all ignorantly dont know what they voted for

            Andy/Marty : If we leave we won’t have any worker protection laws ….whaaaa

            Andy/ Marty : Eu doesn’t impose any laws all laws are UK ones … smug smile

      • a-tracy
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        OK Andy, if we are a sovereign self-governing Country why can’t we decide who gets work-related benefits that were intended to help raise children in our own Country not give a mother not living with the father of her children a higher than annual national income childcare benefit package? It is not discriminatory if this was the purpose of the benefit the EU said no.

        How come we can’t say you have to have lived and worked in the UK for four years in order to obtain social benefits packages?

        Why are we having to prioritise social housing for homeless foreigners that are displaced from private rentals after not keeping up the rent and rate payments over UK born residents or those that have lived here for 18 years?

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink


      Sadly typing it does not make it so. It is not true.

      The 1975 referendum leaflet made it clear that the right of veto of the (then 9) members of the Council was what protected UK sovereignty. Thereafter this was eroded as more competences were given to what became the EU (e.g. Maastricht 92/93) without agreement from the UK people (e.g. 92 election all major parties had same Maastricht policy and Major refused referendum).

      • Andy
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Referenda are not binding.

        Between 1975 and 2016 there were NINE general elections which all overwhelming approved the direction in which the UK was going as the main parties all agreed. What part of democracy do you not understand?

        Plus, of course, the veto is retained for major decisions like expansion, taxation, defence and so on. This is why there cannot be an EU army and why Turkey will not join.

        The UK, sensibly, agreed that the veto was not needed for things like lawnmower regulation or new rules regarding lightbulbs. Harm your sovereignty did they?

        Plus of 1975 was 44 years ago. And you had to be at least 18 to vote in the referendum. Which means your comments apply to precisely nobody under the age of 62. More proof that Brexit is a policy for pensioners.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink


          Whoops they are when as happened here Parliament by a huge margin accept and implement the advice

          So once again you are wrong , you really have no idea do you

          Oh and the pensioners you castigate are the ones who voted for us to join the EC , the ones that invented the technology you are now using to castigate them and the ones that worked and paid taxes so that you and your kids could have “free” education and healthcare

          Question : When as you first claimed when you arrived on this blog that you sacked all your staff because of Brexit were your staff all pensioners ?

    • Simeon
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Shirley, the best way forward has always been to offer an FTA. The red lines on both sides dictate this, and it was ever thus. Yet after more than three years, still the UK government is not recognising this. Sir John is advocating the policy of a party other than that of which he is a member. Very confusing.

  6. Set sail!
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    The EU with Germany running the show under cover, hobnails its colours, its hopes to the mast of EU apparatchics… the frit Remainer MPs , their sorry ship dead-man-anchoring all of us

  7. Peter Wood
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Deal doing 101 – there is nothing to discuss unless there is something each party has that the other wants.

    The EU will not negotiate until it decides we have something it wants; we have to leave without an arrangement, then when there is something we both want we, can discuss it like adults.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Exactly right.

    A great shame the many anti-democratic traitors have so handicapped the country and the government with the appalling Benn surrender treaty, perhaps costing the county several £ billions should The Government not find some way round it.

    So 1 in 5 murders are committed by people on parole. What a wonderful criminal justice system we do have. About the same must be committed by others with mental health issues that are not getting any proper care to protects the public properly. These murders just a price worth paying is the authorities attitude I suppose.

    I assume it is also about 1/5 of many other violent and indeed more common crimes like stabbing, assault, burglary, muggings, car crimes, fraud ….

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      Let us hope Priti PATEL can finally undo some of the dire mess left by the May, Rudd & Greening types.

  9. Richard1
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right that it is futile to negotiate with and against ourselves – which as you say is what Mrs May did & why she ended up with such an absurdly bad deal.

    I think some of the bad aspects of the WA such as the money will have to be accepted. What is crucial is that no agreement constrains the U.K. from pursuing an independent regulatory and trade policy. Otherwise Brexit is pointless – it would be better just to remain. That is the test.

    • Andy
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Close. Brexit is indeed pointless. Don’t worry – you’ll get there eventually.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Brexit only has a point if the UK achieves regulatory and trade policy autonomy. If the UK remains in the CU and SM it is indeed pointless. But this was made very clear by both sides during the referendum. It’s only since then that continuity remain types have argued that Brino is brexit.

    • tim
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Richard1- grow some b…s, we do not have to accept any thing from the EU, we just leave now, no deal, wto, and “it wont make jack shit difference” that is Donald Trumps own words , God Bless Donald Trump.

  10. Mark B
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    . . . to allow us to leave with their blessing . . .

    I find that part of our kind hosts sentence both odd and worrying. The we Leave with or without signing the WA is my understanding. We do not need theirs, or anyone’s permission or blessing.

    The approach to Leaving the EU was all wrong right from the start. This should have come as no surprise since, those both in government and parliament at the time were all for Remain. They believed they would win and did not plan for the alternative. We then had a PM who some thought could get BRINO through and keep us closely aligned to the EU. This was all given away in the Channel 4 documentary on the talks from the EU side. After Mr.Verhofstadt had visited Number 10 is said in front of the camera; They (UK Government) do not want to Leave.”

    It has long been said that, you should never enter into negotiations unless you are prepared to walk away. The EU are not the ones Leaving, we are ! We should have approached these matters with a strong Leave focus. Then and only then would the EU have taken us seriously.

    We have been led by Remainer fools !

    • Andy
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      We have been led by fools. But they are Leavers.

      Mrs May surrounded herself with the best and brightest Brexiters.

      Johnson, Gove, Fox, Davis, Grayling, Patel, Raab, Mordaunt, McVey – and many more.

      Collectively and individually most are among the most incompetent Cabinet minister we have ever had.

      All Brexiters. All incompetent. You do the math.

      • Jagman84
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        Is that a dog whistle I hear?

      • Oggy
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        Is this a Freudian slip ‘you do the math’ ? it is ‘you do the maths’. You do live in England don’t you, and not New England ?

        • Andy
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          It’s an Americanism. You all like America. At least you like its Frankenstein foods and lack of protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

          I, on the other hand, love America more than any of you. And yet I never want my country to be like it.

        • Prigger
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

          Well spotted Oggy!

    • ChrisS
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      May might have had some of them in cabinet but she never took advice or listened to them.

      If during the conduct or the negotiations she had consulted her Brexit secretary or any other cabinet members with a modicum of political nous, they would have told her that the terms being offered under the withdrawal agreement would never get through parliament.

      Why did she keep the negotiations secret until that infamous Chequers meeting ?
      Because by then, even she must have realised they would not fly.

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    If Boris goes ahead with a version of Mays WA then your party is doomed.
    The public will not be fooled by such treacherous behaviour

    • Bob Dixon
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Boris needs this agreement passed by Parliament. We know the EU will reject it.
      So cheer up.

  12. Dominic
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    That doesn’t sound encouraging for Leave voters of which I am one. The inference it seems of this article is that this PM is wavering as many thought he would. This really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering Johnson’s never been a conviction politician. Rhetoric is his weapon and his purpose is the use of this weapon to deflect attention away from his true intentions

    I am all in favor of an abominable volte face if it encourages more voters to swap electoral loyalty to the BP who I believe is now the only party with the appropriate intentions to dismantle the Labour-EU edifice that’s been erected since 1997

    The Tory party with Patel at the helm would have been a mighty political force for good. They chose Johnson. They’ll regret it.

    • Oggy
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      I agree Priti Patel would make an excellent PM.

    • Chris
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, agreed, Dominic. Boris seems determined to just press ahead with WA minus backstop, which is not effectively leaving. He always seems to think he can employ clever rhetoric to persuade/fool people, but many people see through that. I think he is hugely disappointing and indicating that he is not to be trusted to truly honour Brexit, but I had not expected anything different.

  13. Richard1
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Two things have become very clear over the past 3 1/2 painful years, the clear revelation of which is quite useful.

    The first is that should the UK agree to the backstop we would never be released. Unless Northern Ireland would at some future point be sacrificed (in the way contemplated disgracefully by the EU functionary Mr Selmayer), the whole UK would be held under the trade and regulatory ambit of the EU. To give up NI without a vote of the people would surely be a breach of the GFA. The Irish / EU reaction over recent days shows conclusively that the purpose of the backstop is to trap the UK in the CU and much of the SM and so prevent any future independent UK trade or regulatory policy. It must never be agreed to.

    The second – assuming the EU does now turn down Boris’s offer – is that it is not possible to leave the EU amicably. Of course we don’t know what would have happened had a more robust approach been taken from the start. But all that talk from the likes of David Davis about the easiest deal in the world has been shown to be hubristic nonsense. it would have been more sensible and realistic to say the EU would see brexit as an existential threat and would act accordingly.

    • rose
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      It was Fox who said it should [not would] be the easiest deal to do, if the politics were right. He made it clear he didn’t think the politics would be right. No hubris there.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink


      I think the EU have accepted that the UK is Leaving in someway but, would rather it changed its mind. They also needed to discourage others from doing the same and, with regards to Sweden and the Swedish Democrats in particular, it has worked. As others here have commented, the last thing the EU wants is the UK to do as well as, or better, outside the block.

  14. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    John, the European Union cannot break its undertakings to the twenty-seven other members under the Lisbon Treaty, nor its commitment to uphold the Good Friday Agreement. It also resolutely supports, quite rightly, each member country, such as Ireland, in its aspirations to the extent that they might be virtuous.

    The UK proposals reportedly require it to abandon all of those.

    It cannot and will not, and that is highly commendable.

    You are standing principle on its head, and I think that you know that.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Martin IC

      Stop talking twaddle

      The EU has and had nothing to do with the GFA . The GFA makes no mention of borders . The open border is and has been in place since 1923 .

      There are perfectly sound, easy and low cost ways of implementing technology to “protect” the integrity of the EU single market and customs union.

      This border issue is a cynical, political and frankly disgusting ploy by the EU and remainers to put obstacles in the way of us leaving

      You should be thoroughly ashamed to support such a corrupt and undemocratic organisation

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Ireland was made to vote twice on the Lisbon Treaty.

      The UK’s net contribution made up about 18% of all positive contributions to the EU budget. This without factoring disproportionate defence and security contributions.

      That the EU must give equivalence to all twenty-seven nations is part of the problem.

      A rather modest concession on freedom of movement – at the request of the Prime Minister of an important member nation on the eve of an important vote on continued membership of the EU – may well have averted Brexit.

      On this the EU was immovable. And we are darn near to having a second vote too – it is having to be fought against hard.

  15. Bob Dixon
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Have we got a free trade agreement ready?

    • Here and Now
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Good question bob! Mr Redwood talks a lot about tabling a free traede agreement. He’s had over 3 years since the vote and as far as I can see he has not written one paragraph yet. Nor has any other Brexiter. they’re all mouth and no trousers

      Reply Tabling it requires scissors and paste from EU/Canada and EU/Japan along clear lines people have put to the UK government.

      • acorn
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        On your basis JR, that sounds like a job that could get you a “Blue Peter” badge; but, you make no mention of the amount of BBC sticky-backed plastic required. A UK-EU FTA will be of the order of 1,500 to 2,000 pages long, based on recent EU agreement averages. That is a hell of a lot of cutting and pasting JR!

        • libertarian
          Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink


          Read your own post back to yourself very s l o w l y

  16. hardtoknow
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t be so naive- I was going to say stupid- you are not going to get an FTA just like that.

    Everything will have to be done in an orderly way- first the terms of the WA will have to be signed off/ ratified in both parliaments either before the 31st Oct or after the’crash’ probably sometime in 2020, but if the 39Billion, the movement of people and the border issues are not settled before 31st Oct then they will be settled after 31st Oct.

    Secondly- you are not going to get their blessing to leave- so why say it

    Thirdly- There is no time left for negotiations now this side of the 31st Oct- they won’t admit to it, but the EU is counting on the ‘crash’ so that they can get rid of the Farage rabble from their parliament, and neutralise the ERG faction. they consider talks can only resume only in the new year maybe with a new UK government- who knows? hard to know but almost there

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Since when has a trade deal had to be ratified by Parliament?

      • acorn
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Since the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. But there are a lot of get-out in Part 2 — Ratification of treaties

  17. Garland
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    What a puzzling post. If there is no deal agreed, the PM is obliged by law (the Benn Act) to ask for an extension. So we cannot leave the EU on 31 October without a deal (unless the EU refuses an extension, which, to help Ireland, it will not refuse). Do you not know this?

    • rose
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      A very funny sort of law which only applies to one person, not the rest of us, on just one occasion, not for all time, and carries no penalty. Moreover, this directive was rammed through in half of an afternoon and part of an evening, having been kept secret till the night before. No prior consideration or consultation, no committee, no scrutiny or debate. Ditto in the Upper House which is supposed to do further thorough scrutiny and revision which the Lower House doesn’t have time or expertise for.

      This is not law as the British people understand it. It is Zimbabwean.

      • Shirley
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Exactly. It shows utter contempt for the law, and for democracy.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Yet the Government allowed its passage 😉

        • JoolsB
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          Let’s hope they did coz they could see a loophole or am I giving them too much credit? I hope not.

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        I agree Rose!
        And I suspect that Judges may agree also.
        May I draw your attention to paragraph 55 of the recent judgement of the Supreme Court which you can download from their website.

        55. Let us remind ourselves of the foundations of our constitution.
        We live in a representative democracy. The House of Commons exists because the people have elected its members. The Government is not directly elected by the people (unlike the position in some other democracies). The Government exists because it has the confidence of the House of Commons. It has no democratic legitimacy other than that. This means that it is accountable to the House of Commons – and indeed to the House of Lords – for its actions, remembering always that the actual task of governing is for the executive and not for Parliament or the courts. The first question, therefore, is whether the Prime Minister’s action had the effect of frustrating or preventing the constitutional role of Parliament in holding the Government to account.

    • Oggy
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      EU law supercedes UK law remember ? and it is EU law that we leave on Oct 31st. Do you not know this ?

      • acorn
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        According to the commons library, just 4,514 out of 34,105 laws have been influenced by the EU, of which just 72 of them were forced on us against our will.

        [The latter] included regulations such as making sure food labels say if Aspartine is present, which has been linked to cancer, headaches and seizures, and banning carcinogenic residue in meat. Others include making airlines compensate passengers for delayed or cancelled flights and making sure additives in mineral water are safe and labels are honest. The 72 can be seen at https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/rationalist-destroys-leavers-with-list-of-all-eu-laws-that-have-been-forced-on-us-against-our-will/22/01/

        • Edward2
          Posted October 8, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          That’s because the EU came only into existence in 1993.
          So 4,514 laws since then, is a lot.
          And you miss off the many thousands of directives, regulations, rules and amendments to existing laws created by the EU.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:43 am | Permalink


          Thats WHY more than 12,000 EU REGULATIONS have been put in place as they MUST be obeyed and do not require approval, scrutiny or to be put into UK law

          EU regulations automatically have binding legal force in every EU member country.

    • MickN
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Dear EU,
      I have by virtue of the surrender treaty foisted upon us by the Supreme Court been told I have to send you this letter asking for an extension. Could I please have one with a three pinned plug and four sockets.

      Yours Boris.

  18. Dave Andrews
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    In order of preference:
    1 – Leave with the Redwood Plan
    2 – Leave without a deal
    3 – Extend Article 50
    4 – Leave with the dWA (or something similar)

    If Boris does either 1 or 2, he will get a majority in the upcoming general election. 3 or 4 and it’s a hung parliament.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed – and a Corbyn/SNP/Libdim/Green/Plaid government would be a truly appalling disaster.

      His latest mad promise (after the open door to anyone in the World immigration policy with all benefits rights from day 1) is to give football “fans” the power to hire and fire their club’s directors! That should deter any investment in UK football clubs stone dead. If they think the dope will ever get in that is!

      • Mark B
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink


        I follow a football club whose fans have considerable involvement. That club has done better, relatively speaking, than most ‘conventionally’ run football clubs such as the former Bury FC.

        The whole purpose for the opposition parties is not to hold the government to account or, even to stop BREXIT. It is to destroy the Conservative Party electorally. So the UK, its business and people, along with BREXIT are to be sacrificed so that they can get a few more seats. Grubby, gutter politics at its worst !

        • Mark B
          Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Should read:

          The whole purpose for the opposition parties is to hold the government to account . .

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      It doesn’t matter if 3 or 4 lead to hung Parliament as both lead to large economic and democratic damage anyway.

  19. Andy
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    The EU has told you that you can have a free trade agreement.

    As soon as you have dealt with the Irish border, citizens rights and the financial settlement.

    It does not matter to the EU if you do this now.

    Or if you leave with no deal and come grovelling back after a few weeks or months.

    Those three issues remain the same and you need to resolve them.

    Brexiters have a misunderstanding of the word negotiate. It is not a case of the other side doing as you say. It is about agreeing a mutually acceptable way forward.

    And what you have put forward is not acceptable to the EU.

    Those of you who said we held all the cards were wrong. We will do what we are told.

    • Jagman84
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      The Irish border is already a border with different rates of VAT, etc. Our host has stated this frequently.

      We have the CTA (outside of the EU treaties) and Irish citizens can vote in our elections, if they so wish. Does that count as ‘rights’?

      Regarding a financial settlement, the House of Lords declared that legally, we do nor owe a single penny to the EU, other than for any extension of membership.

      Can we have our FTA now?

    • Edward2
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Then as you make plain, we will leave on October 31st without a deal.
      Which is what we should have done shortly after the referendum vote.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Andy. ‘We will do as we are told’. Only if we have weak remainers in charge. Surrendering to a big stick is not what leavers are all about. That is why we were a free country at one time and want to be again.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        The UK has done much as it has been told by the US ever since World War Two.

        Have you not noticed?

        There was a danger that it might not, if European Union integration went further however, and that is perhaps one reason why we are in this mess.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink


          Dont think you’ll find that is true . For a start our banking regulations have been vastly different and forced the US to change some of their regulations

      • Seamus
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        You were never a free country..even today with a first past the post system denies you true democracy. Then right through history you’ve had to contend with crooked monarchy including the establishment and world wars where millions died. Do yo know that in the first world war the King George..the Kaiser and the Czar were all first cousins didn’t see many from that family up in the front line

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      But Andy, the obvious seems to have been obscured by obsessive discussion of detail.
      An FTA would remove the need for any kind of hard border between the UK and the EU, including on the island of Ireland.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:19 pm | Permalink


      There is nothing in the Good Friday agreement (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136652/agreement.pdf) that says there cannot be a hard border. All it specifies is removal of security installations and normalising security to a level “consistent with the level of threat”.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary (who misguidedly believes the electric cars save significant C02) said of the climate protests that disrupting the lives of ordinary people risked “turning people against” the cause.

    Most sensible people were never for the cause get the police to deal with these economic vandals properly this time! As Bill Gates will say (in a speech at the Cambridge Union tonight) let’s deal with malnutrion in Africa and other such very real and easily solvable problems please.

    • Original Richard
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      I hope he’s going to say that the best way to deal with Africa’s problems is to curb its population explosion.

      All that the West’s charities have managed to do over the last 30 years is to treble the population and make the problems worse.

      • Dennis
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink


      • hefner
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        To say that “the West’s charities have managed … to treble the population” is quite a funny statement. Without any participation from the Africans?
        More seriously, let’s hope that the US evangelists do not strengthen their presence there first. Some of their sects, also present in the UK are against contraception and abortion, even in case of problems with the unborn.
        So OR try to get informed on what “the West’s charities” actually do in these countries before writing such “things”.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Fertillity rates tend to decline if once you get decent health care, clean water, sufficient food and birth control available. Very low indeed in Italy, Japan and many other places….

  21. Paul
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Barnier is not there to negotiate..he has his instructions and rule book from the Council..if the UK makes an offer compatible with the rules well and good..if not Batnier will still be there..up until 1st November at least. We are leaving so it s up to us to leave on good terms that’s if we want a relationship with them going forward? Of course there are those who still maintain that we can make it on our own without the great EU but i think this idea is largely delusional.

    • Robert McDonald
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      So how can the rest of the world do so very well without being in the “great” eu ? It is becoming clearer each day that the eu itself is not doing so great within itself !

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Indeed Singapore has gone from being about half of GDP per cap as the UK to about twice in a few years. Without being a member of the suffocating red tape lunacy of the EU.

      • marcus
        Posted October 8, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        Well Robert they don’t go around insulting their neighbours- that for a start. they build relationships with like minded for trading purposes and when things go wrong they sit down at the WTO, UN or other body and sort it out in a civilised way and not by chaotic rag press megaphone stuff. That’s how they succeed- but with Boris/Cummings at the helm we have a long way to go yet to get to civilised- am afraid

    • tim
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Paul, the GREAT EU is only allegedly doing great, because it is a huge parasite sucking all the money from the UK tax payer.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        One percent of GDP, nominally, actually.

        Crime costs around seven percent.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 9, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink


          Crimes are illegal and we cant control them… ah good analogy

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Agreed – I wonder what the daily “contribution” would go up to if we stayed?

  22. Alan Jutson
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Boris is falling into there same trap as Cameron and May, he is talking (even begging for talks) and giving concessions at every point.

    When you say you are leaving you then do not ask for talks about how you are leaving, you simply send in your notice because you have made other plans, you then shut up.

    If the organisation you are leaving want to keep you, they ask you for talks and make you a proposal to stay.

    As for paying for talks, that is just bloody ridiculous.

    • James Bertram
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Well said, Alan.
      Leaving is so simple.
      Anyone who doesn’t get this either has a sly or an overt agenda to Remain. That would seem to include 95% of the Tory Party.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Stockholm Syndrome?

    • steve
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson

      “Boris is falling into the same trap as Cameron and May, he is talking (even begging for talks) and giving concessions at every point.”

      I’d err on the side of him not shafting us. I think the government already knows what we will do to them if they were found to be licking EU boots.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    “… he promised to take us out by 31 October … ”

    Well, I think he has always said ON 31 October, but why wait until then?

    Just send a letter, now, telling the EU27 that we have decided not to avail ourselves of the maximum period of continued EU membership they allowed by their last decision:


    and we are unilaterally terminating our membership with forty eight hours notice.

    • rose
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      There was a recent period when HMG were talking of taking us out on or before the 31st October.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      It could yet happen. There’s nothing to stop that happening 48 hours before an extension request is sent.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Apparently President Macron has said that the EU27 will come to a decision on the UK proposals at the end of the week:


        “The French President told him that the negotiations should continue swiftly with Michel Barnier’s team in coming days, in order to evaluate at the end of the week whether a deal is possible … ”

        If the EU rejects the proposals, as it most likely will, that could serve as the trigger for the letter abrogating the EU treaties.

        As Andy likes to remind us we are a sovereign state and we could have decided to leave the EU at any time; after the referendum it seemed sensible to start by trying to use Article 50, but we should have made clear that this was not the only way we could leave.

        From July 13 2016:


        “I increasingly feel that:

        “This letter may be taken as the formal notification required by Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, without prejudice to any general right recognised in the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties … “

        may be the way to go.

        It says “We agreed that if any member state wanted to leave the EU then it should use the procedure laid down in Article 50 TEU, so that is what we propose to do”, but adds the implied rider “However if you do not negotiate in good faith, if we are mucked about, we will break off the negotiations and suspend the operation of the EU treaties”.

    • tim
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper- exactly what Boris should do. 80% of people on this site know what to do, so why cant Boris just look at this web site and learn?

  24. GilesB
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Exactly right.

    We need to agree an FTA for the future relationship BEFORE negotiating any Withdrawal Agreement, which is the sequence specified by Art 50.

    It would also be helpful to have further comments in the press about how difficult we will be as an EU member if we are held captive beyond 31 October 2019. For example, we could start by proceedings in the EUCJ against member states who have not fully implemented in national legislation all the EU regulations that they should have (i.e. every member state except perhaps Germany). In parallel also start proceedings in the courts of each member state seeking compensation, fines and penalties in every member state where the regulations are not fully enforced (i.e. all of them).

    • GilesB
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      The latter could be achieved very efficiently by taking a full page advert in one major newspaper in each member state inviting law firms to express an interest in acting for the U.K. government from 1 November to carry out such litigation.

      P.S. I am not a lawyer looking for work!

      • gregory martin
        Posted October 8, 2019 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Seems sound- Terms: No Fix-No Fee !

    • Garland
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Giles, the Uk would be a in a much better posiiton today if it had not sent the Article 50 letter until it had got a satisfactory sequencing. Once the Art 50 letter was sent it was always going to go badly for the UK, because it is much the weaker party to these talks. So why did the Uk send the Art 50 letter so prematurely? Because John Redwood and his ERG chums hounded Mrs May mercilessly to rush the process, shouting about us holding the cards. A massive blunder for which the UK is now paying. Always remember, if you listen to John Redwood you are listening to someone who has called it wrong at every step along the way since 2016

      Reply Not so. We advised Mrs May to tell the EU w were leaving in two years time and to ask them if they wanted to discuss an FTA. That would have led to a productive dialogue.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      We cannot negotiate a FTA whilst still in the EU. We can of course offer them one as our kind host suggest and Leave it at that ! They will know we are serious and would act accordingly.

  25. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

     The EU has found it all too easy to refuse to budge and watch as the UK negotiates with itself and against itself.

    And this is the problem. Too many people believe their version is the best and won’t compromise or even budge (losers’ consent).

    This country is seriously lacking in political leadership. Is it a coincidence that this generation of politicians has been in the EU all its life and so not had to take any really tough decisions?

    • Mark B
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Exactly. They have become infantised.

  26. Zorro
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Not sure about you JR, But I am still waiting for some EU apparatchik to pop up and say that they need more ‘clarification’. We have all after 3.5 years had enough of this time wasting. WE TURN OFF THE TAP ON 31/10 and see what happens, and offer mutual tariff free trade. We need to see the EU for what it is and treat it as such.


    • Mark B
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      The clarification quote and similar are all designed to put the ball back in our court. Any such statements should be met with silence.

  27. rose
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Nothing to add to this.

  28. Sharon Jagger
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    I totally agree with all you say in this article.

    The EU are a totally immovable object!

  29. Annette
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink


  30. David J
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Another day closer to get out of the EU Empire.
    Boris’s negotiation strategy is either brilliant or terrible. I will assume the former. Success will probably be based on the arrogance of the EU negotiators egged on the unbalanced reporting by the BBC and the Remainer sheep. WTO looks like a great springboard on to the FTA

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      David J,

      Your first line seems to be unjustified optimism. Everyday that passes the UK is another day away from the referendum vote and another day away from the original March 31st ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ deadline. All evidence points towards UK remaining in EU.

      • bigneil(newercomp)
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        And every day – another £55m to the EU.

      • David J
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        As a Brit running a global business trading on all continents, I guess my DNA is programmed to find solutions and take the glass half full approach. The UK internal pressures here are huge, and I believe that the more we are told we aren’t capable to sort ourselves out, then we will be more motivated to do so.
        Plan B is the Brexit Party driving the alliance with the Conservative party remnants and the many disaffected Labour supporters seeking the delivery of the referendum result.

  31. Anthony
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    But how on Earth are we going to leave on 31 Oct? The government has confirmed to a Scottish court that it will send the letter requesting an extension, the law says we must agree to any terms provided the Commons agrees, which they will.

    The Eau will agree to an extension subject to some conditions or other. And there isn’t even a guarantee that this will lead to an election. As long as Corbyn is trailing in the polls, why would he agree?

    • tim
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Anthony- send a letter, Please give us an extension for ever, but we cease paying any more money, we will not collect your tax for Brussels, you will not be allowed to fish in our waters. we will not allow any more EU illegals settlement in UK. Eu citizens will not get tax credits, working tax credit, child benefit, housing benefit. We will no longer abide bt EU law. For a start.

  32. Kevin
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The EU are dealing with a man who surrendered to them already, as an MP,
    once the WA was put before him for a third time in this Parliament. The
    make-up of Parliament has not changed. In fact, the UK is currently a
    manifest oligarchy, and Mr. Johnson is not one of the oligarchs. The question
    yet remains: by what means will political sovereignty be restored to the people?

  33. BOF
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    ‘The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement and no Withdrawal Agreement.’

    Of course it is and is the only route to fulfilling the result of the referendum. Not only does the EU not negotiate, but it never does so in good faith. Unfortunately there are many in Parliament, and also in Government, who would be more than happy for the UK to leave with the W/A with tweaks to the backstop, then claim we have left the EU.

    The electorate will not be taken in.

  34. agricola
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Well I have been saying it for many months now, leave on or before the 31st October on WTO terms, offer as in your final sentence an FTA and mutual invoking of Art 24 of GATT. Tell the EU that the WA is dead in all respects and that there will be no border in Ireland other than an electronic one covering the movement of goods. No payment of the £39 Billion, but an offer of a treaty under the Vienna convention to agree things of mutual benefit.

    Should the EU fail to respond positively they will destroy the southern Irish economy and do irreparable damage to the economy of Europe as a whole. The final need will be to find a way of dealing with the malicious Benn bill, a remainer’s last gasp. Then at the beginning of December call a GE, having come to a working arrangement with the Brexit Party. The object being to clear out all those anti UK elements within our Parliament. We need a Parliament that represents the people.

    • James Bertram
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Great summary, Agricola – a fanfare for Common Sense.

    • L Jones
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Agricola. Spot on.

    • steve
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink


      “The object being to clear out all those anti UK elements within our Parliament. We need a Parliament that represents the people.

      You always write a good post Agricola. However regarding the above I would say there isn’t really a ‘United’ Kingdom.

      We have the Scots and their elected SNP knifing our country in the back at every opportunity.

      I think we don’t so much need a clear out of anti UK elements, but certainly clear out of anti English elements.

  35. L Jones
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Sir John. Your last sentence says it in a nutshell.

    • bill brown
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 5:27 am | Permalink

      L Jones

      And you still believe in everything that our PM says?

  36. Christine Marland
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your strong, clear message to Boris today. It is needed and valued.

    • Chris
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Christine. It is much needed, as Boris seems still to be intent on resurrecting the WA minus the backstop.

  37. John Sheridan
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Well said Sir John. I hope Boris does hold fast and, if the EU refuse to negotiate the current offer, leaves without a deal on the 31st of October 2019.

    However, I cannot see how that happens given the clear opposition by many of MPs (the majority of whom promised to respect the referendum), the Speak of the House and many of our national institutions.

    • Leona Fish
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      There is a STATUTORY obligation on the PM to ask for an extension if no deal is agreed. Are you suggesting he should ignore our sovereign Parliament and HM Queen?

      • Chancy Gammond
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        The MPs did not know what they were voting for when they voted for an extension. It wasn’t explained to them properly. No-one voted to be unemployed.

  38. The Prangwizard
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Mr Johnson must honour his promises. There are many who doubt him. Does Sir John fear the doubters may be right? Has he got word that Boris is about to weaken and thus these comments? I hope it is written for other reasons.

    There must be no concessions. We must leave on 31st October. There must be no extension. If there is any temporary disruption we will know what it is and can address it. At present there remains speculation on all manner of scenarios most of which will never arise. One newspaper is once again spreading fear about the supply of medicines.

    The point is though that the PM must be absolutely resolute and we must not have any warm up of May’s Treaty document. It’s hard to imagine that after all his tough talk he will back down. The damage which will be done if he does is hard to contemplate. He and his career ambitions will be finished, the Left and Remainers together will be triumphant and our country and freedoms will be lost.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Too right Prangwizard

  39. Jack Falstaff
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Why would the EU even bother to consider “negotiating” a deal when it knows that the longer it procrastinates and gives extensions it will get sack-loads of money while its allies in the UK parliament just try to string the Leavers along for as long as they can?
    Why, the Remain parliament is so good at doing this that, who knows, they may be able to reverse Brexit altogether!
    We should have just left asap and then begun talks, otherwise, as is the case now, we hold no cards whatsoever and there is no incentive for the EU to negotiate and they are quids in.

  40. tim
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The best way now is to leave NOW, and the EU will then ask the UK for a FTA. And we should pretend to negotiate it for the next 10 years. They are still sucking us dry, right up until we are free!

  41. Everhopeful
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    IMO treaties are made to be torn up.
    Look at the troubles they have dragged us into. Treaty of London…rip rip…how many lives saved? Ultimately no Mr H?
    How grateful and loyal has the rest of Europe been to us despite all pacts and alliances dating way back?
    Oh we’ve had an artificial “ peace” in some parts of Europe for 45 miserable years but OMG how we have paid for that!! No fish..no sovereignty…no country..nuffink.
    But what on earth will happen if Boris is playing the Heath/Blair/Cameron/May game??

  42. ian terry
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Good post just about sums it all up.

    Basic rule of problem solving and it would appear there seems to be a problem.

    Can this problem be solved, is it solvable, do both parties want it?

    NO? Don’t start or in out case just leave. No point in keep on banging gums together.

  43. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Boris must not surrender more power to the EU. He said we would leave if a deal was not agreed. We have given enough. Just leave! I want to come back to the Conservative party and thought with Boris at the helm I might just do that but not if he gives any more away. We need a strong leader and one with conviction. Please Boris keep your promise and get us out.

  44. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    BJ must stick to his utterances and not follow May’s deceit. The surrender Act is beyond democracy and good governance and should be ignored. The UK is in genuine danger of imploding with a rogue parliament, Scotland and Ireland voting to Remain and strong indications England voters would be glad to see the back of them both. The EU under the Lisbon Treaty is required to negotiate an equitable future relationship, it clearly has not and will not.

  45. Sea Warrior
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I see that the Conservatives are now polling higher, with Boris having made up most of the ground lost by May. And that Conservative + TBP vote share exceeds 50%.
    Returning to the point, I wonder if Truss has, ready to go, a draft FTA? Government has had three years in which to draft one.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Barnier says “Blame Boris”, well no actually most of the people I know don’t blame Boris they blame Barnier, Verhofstadt and our own backstabbing lying MPs (I know what I was told by my MP to get my vote I’m annoyed with myself that I trusted her) who told us one thing to get elected and then met the opposition to create Acts to tie the PMs hands.

      “Lifelong Tories who said that Johnson’s arrival at the top, his nasty rhetoric and his do-or-die vision of leaving the EU meant they would not vote Conservative for the foreseeable future.” Harris in the Guardian. I’m beginning to wonder if people are telling these reporters stuff like this to get the opposition complacent about calling an election. By the way, not watching the news is going quite well for me, no more light up EU flags and flaxons, no more opinion rather than news, no more aggravating one-sided interviews, try it, it’s nice.

  46. JoolsB
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Boris said May’s deal is dead and then resurrected it albeit a slightly better version. I would still prefer it if we leave with the so called ‘no deal’ option and I hope that is what the Government are secretly aiming for but the most important thing now is that we leave on 31st October, 2019 and then have a GE to allow us to get rid of all the democracy denying EU loving MPs in Parliament. I really hope Boris has something up his sleeve with some loophole and really means it when he says we are leaving on that date, no ifs, no buts. Can’t wait to see the reactions of the likes of Soubry and Grieve if that happens.

  47. John Brown
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    The government should take the EU to an international court for not complying with its Lisbon Treaty Article 50, paragraph 2 which states :

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

    Perhaps if the EU still refuses to negotiate and “conclude” an agreement then this will be our next move if the UK’s EU supporters surrender act is implemented and we fail to leave again on 31/10 ?

    • Here and Now
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      The EU HAS negotiated and concluded an agreement with the UK. The UK’s MPs refuse to sign it off – but that is hardly the EU’s fault

      • John Brown
        Posted October 8, 2019 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, but if our Parliament refuses to sign it off 3 times then an agreement hasn’t been “concluded”.

        I do not believe the EU would like to be exposed in an international court as an authoritarian, undemocratic empire by an examination of the very unfair, often asymmetric, terms of their proposed WA surrender treaty – the one where we accept EU laws, budgets, taxes, fines and policies (trade, energy, environment, foreign, immigration etc) but without representation or veto and with no lawful means of exit – the one described by Mr. Verhofstadt’s staff as reducing the UK to EU colony status.

    • margaret
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      well said John.

    • Leona Fish
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      But an agreement has been negotiated and concluded, man. It is the UK that is now refusing to abide by it. The EU could sue the UK, except it has a lot more impirtant things to worry about than a country sawing its own legs off

      • Edward2
        Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Are you referring to the Withdrawal Agreement Leona ?
        The one Parliament has refused to accept three times by large majorities.

    • rose
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Article 8 also says the EU must foster peace and prosperity on its borders.

  48. Iain Gill
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    we cannot continue to stumble forward without clear decisions being made

    the indecision itself is causing more problems than anything else

    we need to do something clear cut, dramatic, and settle matters

  49. Gareth Warren
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I agree, our modified withdrawal treaty has been declined.

    Instead we can accept this and offer a simpler FTA that does not require expensive EU over sight.

    Once this is offered the PM should devote his energies to securing FTA’s with the rest of the world, licking the EU windows is neither useful nor dignified.

  50. Ian Kaye
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John.
    The tariff schedule published in the Guardian shows Denmark being exempt from tariffs on the export of pork.Is this discriminatory?Or does it reflect the importance of the pig industry in Denmark?

  51. Shirley
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    It is generally understood that Parliament cannot bind the hands of future governments. Why does this rule not apply to a current government?

  52. Bob
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    “The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement and no Withdrawal Agreement.”

    The UK left the EU on the 29th March, but the Establishment are in denial about it. Robin Tilbrook tried to raise the issue in court but court brushed the case aside without a hearing.

    There has been a conspiracy of silence in the MSM about the disgraceful partisan way the case was rejected by the high court while Gina Miller’s cases are fast tracked through the system and make headline news every time. This is a scandal.

  53. Chris
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    The UN want all nations trade under WTO rules by 2030 according to agenda 21/2030 para 68. Britain should prompt this and start now.

    68. International trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, and contributes to the promotion of sustainable development. We will continue to promote a universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as meaningful trade liberalization. We call on all WTO members to redouble their efforts to promptly conclude the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. We attach great importance to providing trade-related capacity-building for developing countries, including African countries, least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states and middle-income countries, including for the promotion of regional economic integration and interconnectivity.

    • Chris
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Not the original Chris of this site posting the above comment about the UN.

  54. Atlas
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Agreed, Sir J.

  55. Edwardm
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    “The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement and no Withdrawal Agreement.”
    I agree with JR.

    If there is no agreement in 10 days, the PM ought to defy the HoC and not ask for an extension – declare it is a political decision in accordance with the people’s decision beyond the authority of the courts and is non-justiciable, and should any MP contest it they may do so by voting for a GE and let the highest authority, the people, decide.

  56. Iain Moore
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The EU stopped negotiating after Tusk offered us a Canada plus pus deal having been made aware of the friends they had in Parliament who they could count on stitching up the British people.

    What has been going on in Parliament has to be one of the most shameful times in our history, and it will rightly go down as the time of the rotten Parliament.

    • Here and Now
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Nope, Tusk’s offer was conditional on the UK sgreeing terms to avoid a hard border in Ireland. Canada doesn’t have a land border with the EU. The UK does. Face up to your responsibilities, Brexiters

      • rose
        Posted October 8, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        How do you feel about the Croatian border?

  57. John Brown
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Very interestingly, Denis Staunton, latterly the Brussels correspondent of the Irish Times and now their London editor, in an interview to George Parker of the FT (BBC “Week in Westminster” 05/10), when asked how the Irish government felt about a no-deal Brexit,which Mr. Parker said would have “catastrophic effect for the Irish economy”, replied:

    “ The Irish government and the entire political system have considered that [no-deal exit] already even before we got to this stage and they’ve considered that it’s better to go into a no-deal Brexit and risk what they would regard as a temporary situation or catastrophe [for Ireland], as you put it, rather than accepting an international treaty which creates a hard border on the island [of Ireland] and possibly damages the Irish economy.”

    So let’s agree to go for no-deal!

  58. Gareth Warren
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Sir John Redwood, I hope we can rely on your support to put Nigel Farage on the EU commission and support the EU budget with a hefty £0 contribution from the UK if they do somehow keep us in the EU post 31st October.

    I would support yourself for the role, although you currently have a useful job.

    • Here and Now
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Zero chance of Farage becoming a Commissioner. He would need the approval of the European Parliament – the democratically elected voice of the peoples of Europe. And they will certainly reject a man with his track record of absenteeism as an MEP. No, the EU’s democractic process is robust enough to block Farage (just as the UK’s has kept him out of Westminster)

  59. John Partington
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    We do not want a hybrid BRINO agreement. The backstop solution is not the only thing to solve. There was a lot of total capitulation in May’s so called withdrawal agreement and all of that needs to be addressed before agreeing anything. Personally, I think it would be better to leave with no deal . In the 2016 referendum, there was nothing about deals. I was a straight question: do you want to stay or leave the EU?

  60. a-tracy
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    The reciprocal healthcare is just one failure after another of the British Government – if we could, all of these years, bill back the EU countries for the free healthcare, GP £150 annual premium, NHS dentistry, as the EU Countries bill the UK why didn’t we? This should more than pay to cover for any retiree in Spain’s private medical cover. Our hospitals and doctors want more and more money from the same people whilst too many are getting services for free.

    Are British MPs and civil servants working for us or against us?

  61. DavidJ
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    One more point that needs to be dealt with, aside from the disastrous WA, is the proposed integration of our armed forces with those of the EU and the placement of them under EU control. This has never, to my knowledge, been admitted by our government or the EU although I understand objections have recently been raised by senior MoD staff.

    This is simply not in accordance with the exit that we voted for and must be stopped.

    • Leona Fish
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      There is no such proposal

      • Edward2
        Posted October 9, 2019 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        You are wrong Leona.
        Clauses 104 to 106 and the general details of the Political Declaration in the Withdrawal Agreement talk about the development of an EU armed force under the EU’s control, developing the existing defence co operation agreements.
        Using member states personnel.

  62. Sydney Ashurst
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    MP’s of the Opposition Parties are asking the Courts to interfere in the role of HM Government. They are trying to prevent Article 50 which Parliament invoked from taking its course.

  63. ChrisS
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    We can see now every day that the Remainers in Parliament are completely destroying any leverage Boris has in the negotiations.

    As long as the 27 think that No Deal can be stopped, they believe they have no need to compromise over anything.

    We will be strung up like chickens if we don’t leave on 31st October.

  64. mac
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Good luck, Britain. Watching from the U.S., I have no doubt you’ll be economically much better off outside the EU straitjacket than you are trapped inside it. That isn’t the best part of Brexit, though. Your departure shows that you have decided not to commit national suicide, which was exactly what would have happened had you stayed.

  65. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Responding to an Urgent Question from Keir Starmer this afternoon the minister James Duddridge confirmed that:

    “there will be no checks at the border, or near the border, or at any other place”

    following the crazy line accidentally taken by the Prime Minister on October 3:


    “… the proposals we are putting forward do not involve physical infrastructure at or near the border or indeed at any other place.”

    There has been some justified puzzlement among MPs about how this could possibly work, with star Remoaner Hilary Benn sticking his oar in to say that something doesn’t add up – which of course it doesn’t, as anticipated here on October 4:


    “But if Northern Ireland leaves the EU customs union that will mean customs checks on the island of Ireland, and according to the latest Remoaner lie the UK government has pledged that there will be no customs checks anywhere on the island of Ireland … ”

    It would have been far better if Boris Johnson had quickly issued a short statement that he should not have added those words “or indeed at any other place”.

    Meanwhile, a Labour MP went as far as falsifying a quotation from the Joint Report to support a brazen lie previously highlighted here on October 2:


    and repeated by Hilary Benn:


    With the Labour MP, whose name I did not catch, saying today:

    “… and I quote, ‘any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls in Northern Ireland’ … ”

    when the last words, ‘in Northern Ireland’ are just his invention:


    “43 … The United Kingdom also recalls its commitment to the avoidance of a hard border, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls.”

    They lie because they are confident that the government will not expose them.

  66. Steve P
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    If the EU are blocking any form of deal, and the surrender act takes no-deal off the table unless we get a deal then the surrender act is surely invalidated as the opportunity to get that deal never existed and that is what parliament voted for. The 2 combined are attempting to revoke A50 without actually doing so. It is blatant crimnal activity.

    • rose
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Anyway, surely the law which should be observed by HMG is the one which says we leave with or without an agreement, not the surrender directive which is illegitimate because of the way it was conceived and “passed”, quite apart from what it says.

  67. steve
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink


    “The best way forward now is to offer a Free Trade Agreement”

    Thank you for your chosen topic JR.

    Unfortunately on this occasion my view does not share sentiment.

    If it was down to me I’d offer the ungrateful EU nothing, zilch. In fact I’d be insisting on them paying us for their liberation in 1945, and for their security during the cold war.

    Most of us are now getting more livid each day of Macron, Barnier and the whole ungrateful bunch interfering in our affairs and doing their damnedest to humiliate and cripple our country.

    It’s about time we told them how it works.

  68. margaret howard
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


    “I voted for Boris Johnson as leader”

    Another elite sinecure not afforded us ‘ordinary’ voters. We have to wait until hopefully we can get rid of this embarrassment of a prime minister.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Indeed that is the voter’s role.
      Every few years we have a general election.
      You can choose to vote for whoever you like.
      Conservatives currently 15 points ahead of Labour and Boris is way ahead of Jeremy in poll ratingsas a preferred PM

    • Fred H
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      MH…. I agree that should Boris not get us out of the EU this year, preferably on 31st October, then the electorate is likely to put their crosses in boxes that result in the Conservative party failing to ‘govern’ in any meaningful way in the next Parliament. That would suit you. However studying the other parties, and their confused policies and ‘follow the crowd ‘leaders”, during the last 3 years, I fear for the future. The doom the remoaners go on and on about is much more likely for the UK staying under the yoke of EU, rather than escaping it. PM with an iron fist, or a paper tiger? Which is to be?

    • Pud
      Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s strange that you’ve decided to complain on this site, again, about not being able to vote against the government of Boris Johnson, when Boris has twice offered the opposition a general election and challenged them to call a vote of no confidence but they have refused. Is there a left-wing equivalent of this site so you could direct your frustration at the proper target?

    • bill brown
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink


      Hear, hear

    • David Taylor
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Boris Johnson is Prime Minister because he was elected to Parliament by his constituents and then elected as Conservative Party Leader by members of the Conservative party .
      This position is legal & above board and in line with historical precedent , I am sure that the Supreme Court would return a unanimous verdict in his favour , on this matter .
      Complaints here and elsewhere , that “I did not vote for him to be Prime Minister ” or sentiments to that end , reveal you to be only democratic when it suits you and suggests you are well suited to be a member of the European Union .

    • BillM
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Does this actually mean that Ms Howard would have voted Tory? Why else should she expect to be able to select their leader?
      Furthermore this methodology is exactly the same in Brussels when only the MEPs can elect their President. The people never get a say in ANY of the elections for the Kings of Brussels.
      In a democracy, it is the people who select those that would govern them AND also have the opportunity to remove them.
      However we all know the EU does not work like that.

  69. Original Richard
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    The EU will refuse to comply with Article 50 (2) and negotiate until it accepts that there is absolutely no chance that the UK will revoke. Until then the plan is to make any Withdrawal Treaty totally unacceptable through the use of the backstop. For example :

    Back in November 2018 President Macron explained the Withdrawal Treaty to his fishermen:

    “The UK will be trapped in a customs union after Brexit unless Downing Street offers European fishermen full access to British waters during the coming trade negotiations.”

    “The EU’s demands on fisheries needed swift resolution after 29 March 2019 or the talks on a wider trade deal would fail leaving the UK in the “backstop” customs union envisioned in the withdrawal agreement.”

    “We as 27 have a clear position on fair competition, on fish, on the subject of the EU’s regulatory autonomy, and that forms part of our lines for the future relationship talks…It [the backstop] is a lever…”

  70. Freeborn John
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    There are numerous press reports that Boris is about to repeat the negotiating naivety of all recent British governments, I.e. to respond to EU intransigence with more goodwill gestures that will simply be pocketed. Reports suggest he will roll over and remove the need for Stormont approval for NI single market membership and make further concessions on customs arrangements that would lead to a hard border between NI and GB. Unless and until we have a British government that knows how to say No the EU will never stop behaving i this way. They think you are all idiots in Westminster and the evidence of 30 years supports them in that view.

    • bill brown
      Posted October 8, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Freeborn John

      The Stormont veto makes no sense, they cannot even agree to meet up

  71. Oh my country!
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    PPS It IS illegal to place wheelie bins on roads and pavements and for Local Authorities or Government to request or instruct persons to place them there. Let alone instruct and endanger wheelie bin collectors to take part in an illegal activity and endanger themselves, pedestrians and other vehicle users. When are the trials? Shh, you are not allowed by Law to discuss it!!Shhh!

  72. Stuart Farmer
    Posted October 7, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Now that a large German motor company is establishing a big car plant in Turkey, is there going to be a border check on imported Turkish made German cars, and is there going to be tariffs imposed by the EU on these German designed cars?

    Also, the Grand Canaria Las Palmas I believe is a free port.
    Could we assign Anglesey as an island and set up Holyhead as a free port?

  73. a-tracy
    Posted October 9, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    John don’t you think its time to stop ar*ing around now. Enough time has been wasted and we’re regularly reminded on here by Andy, Margaret and Newmania that our sovereign government has more powers than previously exercised.

    What is in Boris Johnson’s power right now, remove David Cameron’s choice and let’s get a proper leaver EU commissioner in place, I’d choose someone like Daniel Hannan or Anne Widdicombe. Give the public a telephone vote on it from a selection of three. Tell us what their powers are and ensure they act upon them.

    Make child tax credits and working tax credits available only for all people that have lived here for sixteen years.

    I’ve been told we don’t have to give housing to out of work foreigners we could return them to the EU why haven’t we been.

    Give hospitals permission to retain the recharged money they bill back to the EU and rest of the World reciprocal Countries, net off their bills to us and give our NHS a boost.

  • 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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