How to leave the EU

Over the last three days I have tried one more time to persuade the government that the best way to leave is to table a Free Trade Agreement based on EU/Japan and EU/Canada, and offer talks after we leave on 31 October. If the EU says Yes then we can avoid all tariffs and new trade barriers whilst the free trade issues are discussed, if necessary at length.  If they refuse this sensible offer which is much in their own interest we leave on the  basis of WTO trade, cutting tariffs on our imports as we do so.  This is leaving with a WTO deal, including arrangements and agreements for government procurement, haulage, aviation, customs, pipelines, transport links, energy and much else which are now ready.

I have given this consistent advice since 2016. Had Mrs May followed it we would have left a long time ago and would probably have an FTA by now. We would not have paid them large sums of money, not had a long and expensive delay in  departure, and not had to face laws and regulations from the EU which we do not have a say on.  If we did it now it would avoid the unhappy parts of the Withdrawal Agreement and  the further 15 month delay in exit. Above all it would avoid the vexatious and difficult processes with the Withdrawal legislation that await us, offering Remain MPs more opportunities to delay or damage Brexit. It would save us a lot of money, avoid a period until December 2020 when the EU can legislate and overrule us, and deal with the issues on the Irish border.

What is happening in the Commons is a clear polarisation into Leave and Remain teams, with the Leave team getting behind the Withdrawal Agreement route. The Remain  team including all Opposition parties seems united, determined to use court actions, rushed hostile legislation and any Commons opportunity to  delay or prevent Brexit. The poor negotiating by Mrs May, the loss of the Conservative/DUP majority, and the relentless pressure from the Benn Act and other Remain operations has weakened the UK bargaining position and placed the new government in a very difficult position.  If the government does not recognise the need to table an FTA and choose a different route out, we are all left with sub optimal choices.


  1. Fedupsoutherner
    October 21, 2019

    I can’t wait for a general election and hope the Brexit party is still an option. I’ve had it with all the traditional parties.

    1. Richard1
      October 21, 2019

      you may as well just vote for corbyn

    2. Gary C
      October 21, 2019


    3. Martin in Cardiff
      October 21, 2019

      Nothing will satisfy absolutists other than absolutes.

      In a world of relatives, it is a joy to behold their convulsions.

      1. Edward2
        October 21, 2019

        No different to ultra remainers like you then.

      2. czerwonadupa
        October 22, 2019

        That means Gandhi, Mandela, Mugabe, Nkrumah, Azikiwe, Kenyatta, & Obote must all have been absolutists in your eyes having wanted what the British people voted for in 2016 – Freedom, Independence & self determination.

    4. oldtimer
      October 21, 2019

      The problem is the fact of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. The Remain faction are unlikely to agree to an early GE because they would then likely sacrifice their current strong voting strength.

      It looks as though they will use this to amend any legislation the government proposes. In those circumstances the terms of the agreement reached with the EU would, presumably, have been voided. That might provide an opportunity to table Sir John’s FTA proposal. Whether this would have any better chance of success, I do not know. I suspect Parliament would remain in stalemate.

      1. Rodney Atkinson
        October 22, 2019

        Sir John writes:”the best way to leave is to table a Free Trade Agreement based on EU/Japan and EU/Canada, and offer talks after we leave on 31 October.”
        But the EU claims they will not negotiate a trade deal without our “Exit fine” of £33bn (time has reduced it from £39n)
        Looks like they will have to suffer WTO tariffs

    5. Hope
      October 21, 2019

      Forgets it is the fault of the Conservative party that we have not left by now. Cameron lied to say he reformed the EU and would act on the vote the day after knowing he had ordered no preparations to take place to hinder the UK leaving (bearing in mind his Bloomberg speech).

      The Lancaster speech was meant to be implemented. It was not. As soon as Mayhab went for another speech it was clear it was to dilute what she had said. She should have been ousted. JR and colleagues let her make this become a long lasting painful episode when it was clear, by many of us on this site what she was up to with Hammond. Dennis repeatedly pointed out here the propaganda being put out by No.10 without any rebuttal. Johnson who promoted govt policy was lambasted each time! Mayhab’s treacherous actions on 8/12/2017 regarding N.Ireland left no doubt what Mayhab was up to. Still no action.

      Gove has ultimate responsibility for a remain Tory govt. He stabbed Johnson in the back. He now claims Johnson is an excellent PM! Who would believe him!

      Johnson claimed Mayhabs deal was dead. 95% of it still present with unlimited vassalage transition without an opt out clause and billions in payments and ECJ applying which he criticised. Johnson, like Cameron, wants us to believe him when he spots lies ie this is a new great deal! Liars the lot of them.

      The UK is not leaving the EU on 31/10/2019. That was all bluster. Consequently our party will, quite rightly, be extinct. And it deserves it.

      NB: Mayhab should not be on the backbench she should have lost the whip for defying the will of the people.

      All the traitors in your party who betrayed the will of the people were in Cameron’s cabinet!

    6. ed2
      October 21, 2019

      I can’t wait for a general election and hope the Brexit party is still an option

      Something dramatic is going to happen to stop it or subvert it, the Remainers have shot the bolt, only the Leave side is playing by Queensbury rules (but you would think the opposite is true listening to the MSM).

      I predict huge fake news media stunt (that politicians will all believe or play along with).

      I hope I am wrong.

    7. ed2
      October 21, 2019

      I predict huge fake news media stunt (that politicians will all believe or play along with). About 30% of the population will know its baloney but we will just have to sit here and let the Media led morons play their fake news theatrical and highly emotional Left-wing games.

      I hope I am wrong, but we are living in an era of fake news Media madness.

    8. Ken from glos
      October 21, 2019

      You are so correct. The whole place needs deep cleaning

    9. Richard Mortimer
      October 21, 2019

      Quite right, Sir John

      I’ve followed you and said we should offer a GATT 24 exit to the EU. Freezing tariffs while a new FTA is negotiated. If they refuse, we go straight to WTO terms, but, I believe they will very soon come around to an FTA.

      What can you do to resurrect the Robin Tilbrook case (which stated we left on March 29th based on the judgement in the G Miller case)? The case was brought against the government, so I would have thought they just needed to agree the case was correct?

      Also, article 51 of the Vienna Convention on treaties states:

      Article 51 – Coercion of a representative of a State

      “The expression of a State’s consent to be bound by a treaty which has been procured by the coercion of its representative through acts or threats directed against him shall be without any legal effect.”

      Surely, this puts a different complexion on the Benn Act and nullifies it. Another mechanism to get a proper exit?

      Kind regards,

      Richard Mortimer

    10. Mark B
      October 22, 2019


    11. Pauline Jeffrey
      October 22, 2019

      Why is nobody telling the country the facts about the 2020 Lisbon Treaty the EU have signed. If we are still on the EU then we lose all the egos we lose the pound we lose the financialsector to Frankfurt Wehave to join the EU Army, and so much more. The remainders know this and are just trying to string it all put so we are then on the EU permaneny Why can we not get a detailed nationwideairi g of what will happen to us then

  2. Ian Wragg
    October 21, 2019

    Read facts4eu as to what signing the WA really means. It is a trap with no exit.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 21, 2019

      It is indeed.

      It seems that even some sound Bill Cash types have actually fallen for it, or do they have some devious plan to scupper it later?

    2. Lifelogic
      October 21, 2019

      fact4EU rightly make these ten points:-

      1. Parliament will not be sovereign (nor indeed the people)
      2. Demands payment of a sum to be decided by the EU – Minimum £39 billion
      3. No trade deal with EU – Not included as this is just a divorce treaty.
      4. Prevents independent tax policy
      5. Restricts independent foreign policy
      6. Prevents independent military action
      7. Controls UK fishing
      8. Replaces one EU Commission with another
      9. Leaves UK with €500bn liabilities from EU Investment Bank but no profits
      10. EU colonisation – makes UK a bystander in laws that govern it

    3. Chris
      October 21, 2019

      Yes, those Tory MPs supporting it simply demonstrate to the voters that they are putting Party before country, and that they cave under pressure. Where are their principles, their courage and integrity? I am hugely disappointed (polite version for this blog) by Steve Baker and his ERG. Have they not read and digested the legal Briefing Notes and analyses of Boris’s deal? At least the DUP have principles and have stuck to their principles. Boris has betrayed them and us.

    4. Hope
      October 21, 2019

      500 billion of liabilities to the EIB when the UK is not part of the Euro and we were told categorically the UK was not liable for bail out by Cameron! In contrast all assets, billions in cash, given away!

      Trapped in an unlimited transition, paying billions for a trade deficit, giving control of our military to EU operations to unelected EU commissars, not acting against EU during transition, barred from being more competitive and ECJ applying to citizens and any dispute! This is our taxes! Johnson claims this is a great new deal. What does a bad deal look like? Remember this against Conservative govt. stated claims: nothing agreed until everything agreed, no deal better than a bad deal.

      A message to your party/govt: Your party is not worthy of govt. Get out and do not come back.

  3. Pominoz
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John,

    As ever you write total sense. The EU has from the very beginning said that the future relationship can only be negotiated once we had left. Why then, did they and the useless May negotiating team spend three years agreeing to the future arrangements, all to the EU’s advantage, before we had left?

    It was a total stitch up to keep us under the EU’s control, deliberately engineered from the outset with the aid of the EU agents embedded in the UK Parliament and wider Establishment.

    WE can now only hope that Boris’s rehash of May’s WA is never put to Parliament and the EU tells us they have had enough of our embarrassing incompetence.

    Please, Sir John, continue to maintain your stance. We are all relying on you.

    1. Pominoz
      October 21, 2019

      And if Labour try to make it subject to a second referendum, there is every justification not to put the ‘deal’ to the House.

  4. Tabulazero
    October 21, 2019

    You forgot to mention that what you describe would inevitably lead to a hard border in Ireland something the Republic of Ireland would never accept.

    1. Oggy
      October 21, 2019

      Who cares what Ireland will or will not accept.

      1. mitchell
        October 21, 2019

        Oggy- only the Irish Caucus on ‘the hill’

      2. Martin in Cardiff
        October 21, 2019

        Twenty-seven nearby countries of four hundred and fifty million people in the world’s richest market do, along with the influential Friends Of Ireland in the US, who would block and US-UK deal do, that’s who.


        1. Edward2
          October 21, 2019

          450 million people who never get to directly vote for the leaders of the EU

          1. bill brown
            October 22, 2019


            You mean must like us and Boris

          2. Edward2
            October 22, 2019

            Thats how all PMs get to be in Number 10
            We don’t have Presidents

      3. RichardM
        October 21, 2019

        Oggy an international peace agreement is based on not having a border. You brexiters still dont understand that your brexit is incompatible with this.

      4. nhsgp
        October 21, 2019

        Exactly. It’s an Irish problem with the EU, not a UK problem with Ireland

    2. Bob Dixon
      October 21, 2019


    3. Caterpillar
      October 21, 2019


      As has been pointed out many times the Good Friday agreement says nothing about a hard/soft/no border. Here’s the link in case you missed it.

    4. Julian Flood
      October 21, 2019

      VAT on imported goods to the EU does not have to be paid at the port of entry but where the importer choosed
      To avoid fraud this means that VAT unpaid goods have to be tracked throughout the EU and a system is already in place to do this.

      When the EU claims that only a hard border will do in NI they are lying.


    5. stred
      October 21, 2019

      It will be interesting to see what the IRA will do when the EU puts in the visa scanning equipment for their planned passport improvement in 2020. Of course they could declare the whole of NI a border zone with free travel. Then the English could go over with the UK- Eire free travel zone and get into the EU. Put that one in your pipe.

    6. Here and Now
      October 21, 2019

      Not something the DUP could ever accept. But we know now that the Conservatives care nothing for the integrity of the UK. Such is the narrow English frenzy over Brexit

    7. Julie Williams
      October 21, 2019

      They can either accept the rules of the EU club or leave: a hard border is up to them.

    8. Narrow Shoulders
      October 21, 2019

      The Good Friday Agreement arose because US support for terrorism waned once they got a taste of it themselves.

      Paramilitaries may wish to attack border infrastructure if it is put in place but the IRA will never recieve the support from USA that kept them going.

    9. Roy Grainger
      October 21, 2019

      No it wouldn’t.

    10. BJC
      October 21, 2019

      It should not be forgotten, that under the GFA NI can choose to hold a referendum at any time to decide whether they wish to reunify the island of Ireland. If they truly feel that remaining under the EU yoke was the way forward for their economy, which I doubt, they could vote accordingly.

      Personally, I don’t believe international treaties are necessarily appropriate for the 21st century unless they have built-in reviews as a check for continuing appropriateness. Things change extraordinarily quickly, but treaties can actively create a disadvantage because they keep the status quo (EU) and can be exploited (migration).

    11. Sir Joe Soap
      October 21, 2019

      Not if they agree to continue free trade. You really don’t understand the plan.

    12. Bob
      October 21, 2019

      The UK would not implement a hard border and nor would the Irish, so who exactly do you think would do so?

    13. Zorro
      October 21, 2019

      Not put up by us. Ireland would not do it. So who?


  5. What Tiler
    October 21, 2019

    You have more of the ear of those promoting this appalling treaty JR; do you have any idea why? I cannot see any way that it would offer anything whatsoever to the UK of GB and NI. I’m prepared to admit I may have missed something, and am prepared to be educated as to their thinking. However it looks like idiocy to me.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 21, 2019

      To me too. It will be a disaster for the UK and for the Conservative Party too. It might well give us the Jeremy Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP disaster. Boris and the Conservatives will be blamed for the appalling deal, as all the problems with it are rapidly revealed.

      An election with some Conservative/Brexit Party accommodation is essential and a free trade offer as JR suggests.

      It is the only sensible way to go.

    2. rose
      October 21, 2019

      It looks to me as if the Surrender Directive prevented the PM from pursuing his original plan which was to dispense with the WA and go all out instead for a FTA. The purpose of the Surrender Directive was to abort this, and to achieve an associate membership at worst and full remain at best. This is the idiocy.

  6. Lifelogic
    October 21, 2019

    Exactly and very sub optimal choices indeed. The revised Boris treaty is better than May’s but it would still put us in a very damaging negotiating position indeed. It is totally unacceptable and is not Brexit in any real sense.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 21, 2019

      Theresa May reared her duplicitous head in parliament the other day, droning on:- “I hope the house will forgive me” (well most Conservative voters never will dear that is for sure)….. “I have a distinct sense of deja vu”.

      Indeed “deja vu” of a Conservative PM trying to ram through a disastrous & fake “Brexit in name only treaty” to destroy any real Brexit and screw the nation for very many years to come.

      Please just go away and shut up woman and take Major, Gauke, Letwin, Hammond and the rest of the traitors with you to enjoy your totally undeserved gold plated pensions.

    2. Chris
      October 21, 2019

      Absolutely right, Lifelogic.

    3. Zorro
      October 21, 2019

      Interesting to see the ridiculous Rudd say it was worse than May’s…..😔


    4. Martin in Cardiff
      October 21, 2019

      The fact that the European Union is four hundred and fifty million people as against the UK’s sixty-seven million, and umpteen trillion GDP as compared with a couple, and that it near-surrounds the UK are what put the UK at a disadvantage, and there’s nothing whatsoever that big talk can do about that.

      1. Edward2
        October 21, 2019

        That is a very weak argument Martin.
        It is the power of individual nations in Europe that counts.
        Especially Germany and France.
        The rest do not compare well to the UK

  7. Mick
    October 21, 2019

    All mps have treated us like idiots with your condescending attitude, but we the people will have the last laugh when we put all the anti British Eu loving muppets on the dole when you have the courage to have a General Election

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 21, 2019

      You had your chance in 2017, and you tried, but there just weren’t enough of you.

      There will be even fewer next time.

    2. eeyore
      October 21, 2019

      There will be no election. A two-thirds majority is needed and MPs, who now have power without responsibility or accountability, will not be short of excuses to keep things that way.

      Perhaps this government should resign in November and let the Commons come face to face with the reality of a Corbyn administration. Then, I hope, MPs would call a poll soon enough.

      Whether Marxists with their hands on the machinery of state would respect constitutional proprieties is another matter. It’s not how they do things anywhere else.

    3. steve
      October 21, 2019


      Yes, a GE is where we’ll get them, and by God we will use the election with a vengeance.

      And I’d like to see the look on their faces when they’re ousted.

  8. Mark B
    October 21, 2019

    Good morning.

    . . . with the Leave team getting behind the Withdrawal Agreement . . .

    I would not describe them as Leavers’ since, as the WA (new EU Treaty) is not Leaving but, BRINO.

    I would sooner an extension than sign away our negotiating position in the ‘next round’ of negotiations. Yes, that’s right, next round ! This is far from over and is predicted to go on until the end of 2022.

    What we are witnessing is the UK not trying to Leave the EU but, negotiate an Associate Agreement that keeps us in line-step with the EU.

    The Benn Act has exposed Alexander Johnson MP for what he is and that he clearly does not have a plan other than try to keep the Conservative Party together at the expense of the UK. Well I am sorry, but you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs and, it is high time that certain elements left the party and joined the LibDems or formed a new party of their own. The Letwin Amendment affords more time for MP’s to scrutinize the so called ‘deal’ (new EU Treaty) and I realise just how bad it is.

    We TRUE Leavers need to sit tight and wait. Once the Tories opinion rating begin to fall, and they will as the ‘Boris Bounce’ loses momentum, the opposition will call a GE. Then we can vote for a party and parliament that will get us OUT !!

    1. Lifelogic
      October 21, 2019

      The Brexit Party cannot get us out without the Conservative an accommodation is vital or we get Corbyn/SNP.

      1. Mark B
        October 22, 2019

        When the polls for the Tories start to turn bad, as they did for Mrs. May, the Tory party will come to its senses and seek, on the quiet, an arrangement with the BP.

    2. Simeon
      October 21, 2019

      The proposed transition period is a year, in which time an FTA is supposed to be agreed. Any FTA agreed that quickly is going to leave us very closely aligned with the EU. We might be free in theory to sign FTAs with other countries, but we’ll be doing so effectively as an adjunct of the EU. If an FTA is tricky to negotiate, either we face the ‘dreaded’ cliff face of ‘no deal’, or another extension. Whatever, it’s a rubbish outcome.

      Being honest, I have no idea how competent the Brexit party would prove to be given the responsibility of negotiating terms with the EU. That said, it is surely impossible to imagine that they’d be worse than the Tories, and at the very least they’d be negotiating terms from a far more advantageous position, i.e. outside the EU!

    3. Chris
      October 21, 2019

      I completely agree with you, and Boris’s BRINO is unacceptable. In my view Boris has been utterly dishonest with us, but I never expected anything better. How treacherous to assure potential supporters in the leadership vote that the WA was well and truly dead, only to resurrect it. For those who say Boris’s deal is very different, please read the legal analyses which spell out quite clearly that this agreement will result in us being closely bound to the EU and under its control in so many vital areas, including the ECJ. Do not simply accept the Downing Street spin.

      The only person who has always spoken plainly and has fought for Brexit and has remained principled throughout is Nigel Farage.

      1. Mark B
        October 22, 2019

        Hear hear.

    4. Karen Faulkner
      October 21, 2019

      Which party will get us out? Nigel Farage is not in a position to do that.

      1. Mark B
        October 22, 2019

        The party that you and millions of others vote for 😉

    5. Dennis
      October 21, 2019

      Will the present ‘can’t leave without a deal’ rule lapse after a GE and a another Tory party gets in? And then perhaps it will come back?

      1. Mark B
        October 22, 2019

        First rule in politics : Never trust the Tories. The DUP and the people of NI have just learnt that 😉

  9. Shirley
    October 21, 2019

    May was a Remainer. She, and the other Remainers should have no place in a democratic Parliament and many of them obtained their seats through fraudulent promises to respect the referendum result. The country is crying out for a GE, but Parliament refuses.

    This all follows the EU system, ie. never allow the people to make a decision because they may make the wrong decision. Parliament is now undemocratic! This is one of the main reasons why we want to leave the EU, without a ‘deal’. The EU are anti-democratic.

    It appears the majority of our politicians would rather destroy democracy in the UK, than restore it to a sovereign country.

    1. Julian Flood
      October 21, 2019

      Not ‘fraudulent promises’. Lies. Use the ugly, honest word.


    2. Here and Now
      October 21, 2019

      Shirley, the Leave campaign explictly promised we would never leave without a deal. In fact they promised we would not even send the Art 50 letter until a deal was in sight. Parliament is not frustrating the will of the people. the MPs pushing for a no deal brexit are doing that

      1. Edward2
        October 22, 2019

        The Withdrawal Agreement even in its modified form is not a deal.

    3. Dan R
      October 21, 2019

      Agreed Shirley. I voted for a big shake up of the political landscape. I knew it wasn’t going to be plain sailing. I knew the EU wouldn’t negotiate well. At best it was going to be very last minute. What I didn’t expect was the remain/EU force in our own country, to be so treacherous to the winning majority of UK voters.

    4. steve
      October 21, 2019


      It is Corbyn and Labour who won’t agree to a general election, because they know we’ll obliterate them.

      They also figure that by refusing to face the music they only have to keep going long enough to knacker brexit and keep us in the EU. They’re cowards and devoid of moral compass. They can’t get their own way, so like the bunch of cry babies they are, they smash things up instead.

      My view is that Labour’s behaviour and contempt for democracy is absolutely disgraceful in the extreme, and I think the Queen should now close down parliament and order a general election.

  10. GilesB
    October 21, 2019

    What responses do you get?

    What reasons are given for not pursuing this sensible course?

    One reason that I can think of is that ‘We can’t change approach!’. (May started us off on using the Art 50 route and Barnier twisted the logic by putting the Withdrawal Agreement before the Future Relationship). Are there other reasons?

    1. Nig l
      October 21, 2019

      Because Johnson is a con man.

  11. Peter Wood
    October 21, 2019

    Good Morning Sir John,

    Your suggestions are good for the UK, but not so for the EU.

    The EU doesn’t want us to leave, therefore any arrangement that is less than our full membership, and ever closer union, is not as advantageous to them. The EU bureaucracy lives fat off our generosity; why would they accept or negotiate for anything less?
    Our only hope is to leave on WTO, the European economies will see that trading with us is less than optimal and TELLS the EU bureaucracy to get on and work out a trade deal.

    There will be no fair and reasonable discussion with the EU, producing a trade deal, until it is in the interests of the European nations/industries to have one.

    1. mitchell
      October 21, 2019

      Oh yes they do- the EU wants you to leave they have had enough- they just want your market to sell into and either way you will pay- but looking from outside you will have no say. So leave to WTO and will suit the EU even better

    2. Martin in Cardiff
      October 21, 2019

      Pure delusion.

    3. Simeon
      October 21, 2019

      Any chance of a fair and reasonable discussion has been destroyed by the actions of the UK government. The only sensible course now is the one you suggest. This requires a GE, with the result being that, at the very least, the Brexit party hold the balance of power, though this might not even be enough. The Tory party simply cannot be trusted to deliver Brexit. Sir John has explained that they have received the best advice all the way along. They have ignored it. The conclusion to draw is obvious.

    4. A.Sedgwick
      October 21, 2019

      Whether there is a grand design or it has emerged through the EU culture they are reaching an ideal solution to the UK disrupting, namely out of all voting arenas but subject to the wills of the politburo, paying handsomely for nothing and benefiting from the trade balance in their favour with no easy or likely exit.

      I had hoped for perhaps 50 honourable MPs in the final analysis, with the DUP there may be 20, no more.

  12. Lifelogic
    October 21, 2019

    If governments (and airlines?) actually believe in all the carbon dioxide “pollution”, fiery hell on earth, alarmism why are Quantas flying a few passengers from New York to Sydney direct (using perhaps 1000 gallons of aviation fuel per passenger) rather than the 100 gallons usually needed for a full plane with a short refuelling stop?

    Should planes not have some max fuel per passenger mile limits?

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      October 21, 2019

      That’s only for a few special people, like the ones sent to Africa on taxpayers’ money to whinge about their situation. Time to pull support from all but Queen and a spare.

    2. hefner
      October 21, 2019

      How do you come up with these figures?

    3. tim
      October 21, 2019

      aviation fuel is TAX Free

    4. Weatherman
      October 21, 2019

      You are falling into the media trap which is promotion of you thinking and behaving as if, at worst, Climate Change ideology is worthy of sensible debate and discussion. It is not by educated adults.

    5. acorn
      October 21, 2019

      I have got used to leavers making up numbers then adding a couple of zeroes. A Boeing 787-9, in normal 280 seat configuration can do 23 passenger kilometres per litre of fuel. This test flight had 49 persons on board. I will let you work out the rest. 😁

      1. acorn
        October 21, 2019

        Sorry, I gave you the wrong conversion, 23 should be 39 passenger kilometre per litre. The current average for all aircraft is circa 31.

    6. Leslie Singleton
      October 21, 2019

      Dear Lifelogic–Given nobody else, please allow me to point out that QANTAS is so spelt. Queensland And Northern Territories Aerial Services I believe.

  13. Here and Now
    October 21, 2019

    There are no “arrangements and agreements for government procurement, haulage, aviation, customs, pipelines, transport links, energy and much else which are now ready”. There are unilateral measures taken by the EU with zero input from the UK, and they last as long as it suits the EU, not a moment longer. Please, do not think your readers cannot see your blatant attempts to deceive us as to how very badly Brexit is going

    1. Edward2
      October 21, 2019

      Hear and Now
      Every agreement between two parties lasts as long as both sides want it to last.
      It doesn’t matter who was first to put forward the arrangement.
      It just shows that the EU is keen for sensible arrangements to be in place which are mutually beneficial.

    2. stred
      October 21, 2019

      Why do you think the EU took the measures, you silly bugger. Answer. It’s because they want to carry on flogging us lots of stuff.

    3. Oggy
      October 21, 2019

      Brexit hasn’t happened yet if you hadn’t noticed.

    4. sm
      October 21, 2019

      HandN — could you tell us how you know better than an assiduous Member of Parliament?

    5. acorn
      October 21, 2019

      Likewise, JR is the only MP left who still reckons GATT XXIV(5) is an option. A ten year tariff free ride to a free trade agreement with the EU.

      The EU Trade Commissioner and WTO management have said that article was not designed to turn an existing customs union membership, into a lesser free trade agreement. The UK wants to work the article backwards.

    6. Andy
      October 21, 2019

      Tell me. When we arrive at your sunny Brexit uplands, how do you think things will pan out?

      Seeing, if course, that half of the people you are taking with you are being forcibly dragged there against their will.

      How to you reckon that will pan out? (Not very well would be my guess).

      Incidentally, why won’t Javid publish an economic forecast of BoJo’s deal? Is it because it’s very grim reading?

  14. Andy
    October 21, 2019

    The good news is that you can have your free trade deal. The EU has said it wants an ambitious one with the UK. Though, obviously, it will still be far less beneficial for both the UK and EU than the current single market / customs union setup which are – by far – the best trade arrangement in the world. But then Brexit is a project to erect barriers.

    The bad news is that you can only have an FTA when you have dealt, to the EU’s satisfaction, with the Irish border, citizens rights and the UK’s outstanding bill. Which means the withdrawal agreement. The EU has been telling you this since 2016. It really is time to start listening. They hold all of the cards. You have none.

    1. Edward2
      October 21, 2019

      It seems you have yet to read today’s post by Sir John.

    2. Roy Grainger
      October 21, 2019

      Andy, you told us May’s deal was the final offer and the EU wouldn’t renegotiate it, which turned out to be a lie by them. So you were wrong then. Why do you still keep saying we have to listen to them about what they will and won’t do ?

    3. Jeremy
      October 21, 2019

      Why are we so fixated on a FTA?

      China & the US, the two biggest EU trading partners, do not have a FTA with the EU.

      Thanks John for all your efforts. Keep pushing government to table a FTA agreement or leave on WTO terms. Please also do what you can to get the ERG on side.

    4. Anonymous
      October 21, 2019

      “the current single market / customs union setup which are – by far – the best trade arrangement in the world.”

      From Beaconsfield I expect that seems true.

      I’d like you to enjoy 20,000 new homes within close proximity and yet cuts to services because, clearly, none of the new residents are paying council tax.

      Hardly surprising when most of the housing is built on old factory sites.

    5. Alison
      October 21, 2019

      The EU only hold those cards if we sign the WA. Then they do.

    6. Ed M
      October 21, 2019


      You never say anything positive about why there is merit, in a general sense, in having sovereignty. Surely, it makes more ethical and practical sense for a country to rule itself? And that sovereignty is part of patriotism, and that patriotism (as opposed to nationalism) is a GOOD thing. To deny this, to me, is political heresy.

      Just as nationalism (as opposed to patriotism) is also a heresy (nationalism would also include antipathy towards foreign culture and foreigners in general).

      The favoured goal should surely be:

      1) Full Sovereignty (how can anyone disagree with that?!)
      2) Positive, healthy relations with Europe in terms of trade, security and culture but without losing our sovereignty (how can anyone disagree with that?!)

      And where the argument is then how do we achieve that goal (i.e. whether as soon as possible or be more patient and prepare our country properly for it and/or something in between). Anything outside that scope of argument, for me, is political heresy.

    7. Zorro
      October 21, 2019

      Not true Andy – we pay way over the odds for the current “free trade arrangement”. No need to pay for free trade. The EU has a surplus of nigh on 100 billion a year with Treasure Island. Tariff free trade is in their economic interest. Just need to remind the current government of that fact!


    8. J Bush
      October 21, 2019

      “the best arrangement in the World” you reckon young Andy.

      This ‘arrangement’ has halved its share in the global market from 40% to below 20% in the last 30 years, but perhaps I am referring to facts before your time.

      Youth unemployment is running at approximately 50% in some EU countries, although I acknowledge the euro works rather well in Germany’s favour, compared to its previous currency the deutschmark, but what the hell aye, sod the other countries, as long as Germany is ‘top dog’…until Germany realised by pauperising these countries, they can no longer afford to buy German goods. British people are now starting to boycott German goods (the car trade to the UK alone has dropped by £3b). Trade will drop further now the US has slapped reciprocal tariffs on German cars.

      With Germany going into recession and the UK leaving, just how big will this ‘best trade arrangement in the World’ will actually be? I estimate a maximum of 9% of the global market and I am being generous.

  15. Garland
    October 21, 2019

    We’ve had three years of the EU saying “no talks until you sign off on debts, citizen rights and the Irish backstop” and still you think if we just walk away, the German carmakers will panic and force the EU to give us a great deal. If it weren’t so serious for our country, your delusion would be funny

    1. Julian Flood
      October 21, 2019

      I talked about Brexit to a German woman who had a nephew/son/some such in the UK looking at the options involved in closing a car factory.
      ‘Don’t you realise it will cost you a lot of money?’
      She was visibly shocked when when I said that we don’t care, we know but we think other things are more important.

      To those who have given up on politics, only money is left. Not honour, patriotism, pride, just money. She literally could not understand me.

      Our politicians are failing us and soon only direct mass action will be left

      Dark days.


    2. Roy Grainger
      October 21, 2019

      This is the EU who said May’s WA would NEVER be reopened ? Why do Remainers believe everything the EU says ? Partly because they know nothing about negotiation.

    3. libertarian
      October 21, 2019


      As you’ve now been told a couple of times, your post is factually incorrect and quite frankly drivel

      There are NO debts as agreed by the EU

      Citizens rights in UK have ALREADY been guaranteed and my French daughter in law has already got hers

      The German car industry is in meltdown, they are angry with the EU, read the CEO of VW on why they are moving production to Turkey

      Whats the point of telling fairy stories to make yourself feel better, try thinking and analysing situations based on facts

    4. forthurst
      October 21, 2019

      If you imagine that the Tory party ever wanted to leave the EU, you are deluded. Their approach has been to negotiate a BRINO and ram it through parliament; as May did not succeed in the later, they have appointed a much better salesman to do their dirty work for them. I hope he fails.

    5. Lynn Atkinson
      October 21, 2019

      So you did not notice Mrs Merkel saying they need a free-trade deal with the U.K. as fast as possible?

    6. julie williams
      October 21, 2019

      Exactly; where are our demands?
      Where is anything about what the EU owes us for over 40 years of net contributions? Why do we have to pay?
      why do we surrender our share of the EIB and underwriting future EU debt…it’s a nonsense?
      Why do we even think about aligning with the EU in any military sense when the NATO alliance of the USA and the UK stood by the German border?

    7. ed2
      October 21, 2019

      and still you think if we just walk away, the German carmakers will panic and force the EU to give us a great deal. If it weren’t so serious for our country, your delusion would be funny

      So only the British Tories are slaves to the wishes of the CBI etc?

  16. Andy
    October 21, 2019

    The People’s March was wonderful on Saturday. A great atmosphere of people from all over the country – an army of Europeans in Europe’s capital, mobilised against the dark forces of Brexit.

    I am curious. This is what, the third or fourth time hundreds of thousands – perhaps even a million – people have gathered to show you all the future. If we do not stop Brexit now – and with this law-breaking government I suspect we won’t- then we will undo it in future instead.

    The numbers involved are huge. The only two protests I remember coming close to this in numbers and anger were over Iraq and the Poll Tax. Two triumphant policies. Brexit is making it a hat trick.

    1. Edward2
      October 21, 2019

      As usual you confuse our love of Europe with the EU.
      Two different things.

    2. Anonymous
      October 21, 2019

      So 65 million didn’t join you.

      1. Martin in Cardiff
        October 22, 2019

        Fifty million didn’t vote Leave.

        1. Edward2
          October 22, 2019

          Babies dont vote.

  17. Dominic
    October 21, 2019

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Johnson’s been privately warned and indeed threatened by Merkel of the consequences of acting unilaterally without her express permission.

    Maybe Johnson’s been warned and indeed threatened by both Merkel, Macron and heavy political players from the US that should he choose the unilateral exit route the UK could face punitive repercussions

    This entire issue has one upside of course. We can now see the true face of the British politician and indeed the true nature of the British state, its institutions and Labour’s grip on non-governmental power.

    There now can be no doubt about who we can trust and who we cannot. Those who are defiant in their opposition to the winners of the 2016 result are truly without moral foundation and honour. For this I hope the British voter will not only punish them but obliterate them at the next GE for their temerity, arrogance and dishonour

    And once all this is over, the EU-Labour client state is dismantled with an unwavering determination

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      They can only act lawfully. We are, as stated in Article 50, entitled to Leave the EU under our own constitutional matters. So if parliament and the government elect to Leave, we Leave. If they try to do something it could be deemed illegal and the UK would have recourse to claim damages.

  18. Marylynn Rouse
    October 21, 2019

    Thank you so much for your consistent advice. Would that it were taken!

  19. Bob Dixon
    October 21, 2019

    John Bercow will rule out a second vote on Boris’s Bill.

    1. sm
      October 22, 2019

      You have been proved correct, and I wonder if this isn’t the preferred route to invoking Article 50?

  20. Oggy
    October 21, 2019

    You make perfect sense, and reading between the lines I’m assuming the Government intends to push on with May’s reheated putrid Withdrawal treaty, which is not leaving the EU at all.

    By the time Bercow, Letwin, Grieve, Benn, Starmer, Cooper and co have finished with the WA it will be left even more pointless than it was to begin with.

    For goodness sake just bin it.

  21. Tom Rogers
    October 21, 2019

    I think tabling an FTA would be a mistake, assuming it is even now possible. We just need to let the clock run down and leave on 31st. October by legal default.

    I think you are falling into the same trap that Thatcher did when she pursued the Single Market and brought in the Single European Act. You think trade is trade. It is, in the Anglophone world and among rational people. The EU, however, is a political-ideological, and therefore by definition irrational. The EU project has a different underlying working philosophy: they say ‘trade is politics’. A bilateral political agreement with the EU should be resisted because it would bring us into their sphere of influence and integrate us into their federalist-centralist structure.

    Britain is an island nation with several key strategic advantages – natural resources, including coal and oil, fisheries, etc. – a capable skills and intellectual base, if somebody can sort out education, training and apprenticeships, and a large and threatening military. We don’t need to go and beg for deals from the EU, the USA or anybody else.

    Before negotiating FTAs, especially with the EU, Britain should work out an optimal trade position through experience and practice as a third country outside the EU. We should start by declaring Unilateral Free Trade, reserving zero tariffs on certain goods and sectors where we think there may need to be intervention later. We need to spend a few years living by our noses, wheeling and dealing, making ad hoc arrangements here and there, making mistakes, learning lessons and so on.

    The aims should be to:
    -restore a reasonable commercial balance between imports and exports;
    – end immigration, encourage businesses instead to rely on our own people and invest in technology;
    – restore preferential politico-trade relationships with Australia, New Zealand and Canada, with visa preferences, etc.

    Let the big powers – the EU and the USA – come to us. Let them beg for free trade agreements, and when we’re ready, we may agree on terms that suit Britain culturally, politically and commercially.

    In short, I’m arguing for a particularist trade policy: instead of applying abstract principles, we define what’s good as what suits Britain and the British people. We become nationally-selfish.

    General election needed. Brexit Party need to win seats (they ought to win a Commons majority, but won’t).

  22. Caterpillar
    October 21, 2019

    Given how the Remain team are playing, PM Johnson must make one more attempt at a GE. The difficulties of the drawn out WA and follow on negotiations will continue in parliament for too long, leaving without the WA will not happen, another referendum would lead to more division and years of uncertainty in the UK. The only sensible and democratic option is a GE, Corbyn should be given one less chance to become a democrat.

    1. Caterpillar
      October 21, 2019

      If Speaker prevents a meaningful vote and HoC attempts to attach amendments to withdrawal agreement bill then it must be pulled. If Speaker does not allow meaningful vote then really WAB should not be introduced – if EU give extension PM should try for GE again or hopefully EU will not give extension.

  23. Davek6
    October 21, 2019

    Reading this I know that you have somehow gone over the edge- we are not going to get a FTA with them until the terms of the WA are settled- so you can table all you like nothing will happen until the divorce WA is finalised in a legal way and to their satisfaction- and unsigned letters won’t work- so why go on with this bonkers stuff giving people false hopes dreams that we can somehow bulldoze our way through if you repeat your JR advice often enough- its just not going to happen that way

  24. agricola
    October 21, 2019

    As you well know I have been pushing the same idea for many a year. I cannot for the life of me see why this route to separation has not been pursued. The only objections I have read come from trolls who produce nothing sensible. Who in the present government have you tried to convince and what are their objections. Has the EU ever been asked, perhaps you should take a trip to Brussels and ask Barnier et al what they think.

  25. Julie Williams
    October 21, 2019

    Challenge Parliament and the EU about Article 50 and it’s implementation.
    They had their two years on 29 March.
    They had the one extension “in the spirit” of Article 50(3) and it finished in May.
    We are clearly now in “bad Faith” territory , extensions are not there to help us leave.
    Or are the EU going to ‘re-open the unopenable yet again?
    Time for a ruling by the EU courts.

    While we’re at it: when do we get our money from the EU, including from the EIB and no underwriting the Euro folly?

  26. George Brooks
    October 21, 2019

    This ‘Remainer’ dominated parliament is now in a head long dive into the gutter aided and abetted by the Speaker. The damage they are inflicting on our country and it’s economy is enormous.

    The route out of this unholy mess created by these remainers is, as you describe Sir John, and the only way to get us on to this path is to meet them and fight them in the gutter for the next 10 days.

  27. Everhopeful
    October 21, 2019

    What we are actually going to end up with is another Referendum.
    But this one will be rigged. And the result will be implemented…pronto!
    Remain or Remain.
    ie…Remain or Boris’s “Deal”.
    And having been ramped up as our saviour (and the candidate so “unfairly” excluded by all the Gove/May pantomime)people will vote for Boris’s Deal”. Not leaving!!!
    Three years to wear us down with utter RUBBISH and now the NI rot to further reduce govt support.
    And there was me thinking Boris would pull a white rabbit out of a hat!

  28. Sharon Jagger
    October 21, 2019

    I agree that this new treaty, once it had been ‘got at’ repeatedly by the remainers wouldn’t be worth having!

    I’m really, really surprised the ERG including Steve Baker, and indeed led by him, have opted to vote for the slightly better, but still not good, Treaty! Even Brexit Central and Briefings for Brexit think the MPs should back it!

    There must be something in the water. Fear?

    I think this new treaty and Remain will ultimately put us in not very different places. Remaining will just take longer for us to get there.

    So I’m totally with you Sir John!

  29. Everhopeful
    October 21, 2019

    We have suspended disbelief for too long hoping we were wrong.
    Well it is what it looks like.
    A cruel pantomime.
    They were NEVER going to let us leave.

  30. Fred H
    October 21, 2019

    In summary we need a GE to let the people decide what individuals they want representing them, and the country. Hopefully attention will be drawn to their statements, their voting, their integrity.

  31. BOF
    October 21, 2019

    It would be too much to hope that at least, this excellent suggestion would be taken up by the Government Sir John. Right now the last parliamentary party that actually stood for leaving the EU, the DUP, are talking about backing a customs union. So all propose either remain or BRINO.
    I will be away for November so may miss an election, but really donot care if do.

  32. Alec
    October 21, 2019

    I don’t believe that Boris is a real Leaver. His treaty demonstrates that. What he wants is the appearance of wanting to leave to save his party from political suicide whilst going along with the establishment desire to Remain. BRINO. This parliament and civil servkice is beyond awful. They are the enemies of Britain and it’s people. We don’t need an election, we need an Oliver Cromwell.

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      TBF he had little time and not much to work on but, there was a lot he could have done to make it easier – eg Stop the Benn Act for one. Once the Benn Act was passed the EU were back in the driving seat as they knew exiting without an agreement was off the table.

  33. Mike Stallard
    October 21, 2019

    The Remain Tail is wagging the British Lion!
    We must have a general election.
    A neverendum is NOT the answer!

    Meanwhile, we need to realise that, as you rightly say, Sir John, we badly need some sort of trading arrangement. Round the world, there are eleven different types of trading agreement. I myself would go for the Norway EFTA one while we sort something out. But the Canada one is certainly a possibility.
    When I went to the USA some years ago, I did not die of chlorine poisoning. I went round several hospitals and was impressed. I found the Americans were much more open than we are and much more ready to experiment than we now are.
    And our very good friend (I am certainly not joking here) Donald Trump is holding out his hands ready for our agreement to trade mutually with his country.

    1. Mitchel
      October 22, 2019

      The British Lion is now just a (politically incorrect) floorcovering.

  34. Kevin
    October 21, 2019

    To the rest of the ERG: you are not rescuing democracy if you give away
    our money, our fish stocks, our legal sovereignty and our foreign policy. No
    mention of this was made on the ballot paper for the People’s Vote. If you
    must tough it out for the remainder of this fixed term Parliament, so be it. Do
    you think Remain will stop if the WA wins? Then what would you be defending?

    1. margaret2
      October 22, 2019

      Kevin. I agree the “WA,” far from leaving, will keep us firmly trapped in practice whatever it says about time limits ; it as bad as if not worse than no brexit. I recommend an article by Ralph Protheroe on Independence Daily “The Junta that is waiting to rule Britain. ” This topic is never discussed. We should also keep an eye on stuff that is not actually in the WA so never discussed; May’s proposed Security Treaty re criminal justice which will deprive us of our liberty once and for all, and the UN Global Compact for Migration which will open the floodgates. .

  35. Sydney Ashurst
    October 21, 2019

    MP’s such as Oliver Letwin leave me doubting their intelligence.
    In the Cooper – Letwin Act and his amendment on Saturday the unstated and stated aims is to prevent the UK leaving the EU without an Article 50 agreement (DEAL).
    Letwin then goes onto say he will vote for the new agreement.
    He and so many other MP’s do not understand that the 585 page WA regulates the negotiations we begin on our future relationship in however long the transition period lasts.
    Having of course paid our £39 billion divorce/fee.
    There is no guarantee that at the end of 2020 we will have a DEAL
    The Benn Act extension if granted has no purpose other than the unstated one of delaying our exit. Amended WA negotiations are at an end, the purpose of the Benn Act.
    The PM cannot carry out the duties with which Parliament is tasking him.

  36. BJC
    October 21, 2019

    Parliament is continuing to speak as though the utter chaos they’ve worked incredibly hard to create has absolutely nothing to do with them. They’re sounding more like Extinction Rebellion every day…..allegedly sorry, but will continue doing whatever they want because in their opinion they know best. Sadly, in Parliament’s case there’s no outside organisation to temper their excesses; indeed, they have their very own cheerleader in the form of The Speaker.

    They can dress it up as much as they like, but this represents an abuse of the power, especially as they’re refusing to return our powers to us.

    In short, WTO rules provide a ready-made process and offers a level playing field until we can negotiate a FTA where most of the terms are already in place, anyway, due to our current membership. Parliament, however, has an unerring ability to complicate the simple.

  37. Christine
    October 21, 2019

    Future generations will never forgive politicians for what they have done to this country. The WA treaty gives the UK nothing other than more pain. When voting leave I didn’t expect to be shackled to the EU in perpetuity. Remain politicians are behaving like mob rule. They will look back at their actions with shame and regret. As I predicted they will now attempt to force a second referendum, with remain on the ballot. They need voter consent to overturn our decision. If the question isn’t this treaty v WTO I won’t be voting. Let the turn out be so low that it is meaningless. We can then have an election and hopefully get rid of the lot of them.

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      Less mob rule, more like elected dictatorship.

  38. Pat
    October 21, 2019

    It should be pointed out that Mrs. May never had a majority. Those who have left the Conservative benches since the 2017 election were always working against her anyway.

  39. Dan
    October 21, 2019

    As much as I agree with your statements and intentions, I more chance of being voted in King of the Universe than a WTO based exit happening. Parliament will not allow it, they will not allow a GE for the Conservative Party to win and take the WTO forward, they, through the devices of the Speaker, not even allow Boris’s WA to be heard. They will do everything to stymie, to delay and to remain instead. I do not see a way out of this unless the EU deny an extension. I do not think that using the Treaty of Vienna to suggest that the Surrender Act is coercing Boris into requesting an extension which would be against everything he has campaigned for, will stand.

  40. David Maples
    October 21, 2019

    What disappoints so much is that Boris has been as deceitful as May was, in that he has never laid bare at any point in the last 6 weeks how awful his deal actually is(90% her deal). He revealed its horrors only at the last moment to stop any opposition, hoping that the few scraps given him by the EU would cover over the nasty bits. Does he recall how he felt at that Chequers meeting? Well, he resigned didn’t he? The whole thing stinks, and frankly, I’d rather stay in this latter day Babylonian empire, if that’s the best he can do!

    It won’t be long before he resigns I reckon, and Michael Gove takes over.

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      After the Europarl elections Theresa May MP was seen as a spent force. The Tories were doing poorly in the polls and Labour wanted a GE. They needed a ‘reset button’ and either Johnson or Gove would do it. The Plan right from the start was to push through an Association Agreement with the EU – A close and special partnership. All the while trying keeping the Tory party together. No BoJo is in danger of losing his Mojo 🙂

  41. Paul Cohen
    October 21, 2019

    How many more times do we have to suffer the malfeasance of Speaker Bercow? His obvious satisfaction and grandstanding for the chaos he is causing makes me sick – what about a quick nationwide petition to have him removed from the office he has trashed?

    Starmer also needs reigning in – his faux explanations for his remain stance also infuriates.

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      How many more times do we have to suffer the malfeasance of Speaker Bercow?

      I do not know about the number of times, but the number of days is just over nine.


      1. Fred H
        October 22, 2019

        He’ll be gone – trust me.. Mother Goose panto rehearsals start shortly.

  42. MPC
    October 21, 2019

    Remain knows it is winning and will eventually prevail whether through playing it long (Justine Greening this morning saying Brexit will take years), 2nd referendum, Customs Union membership, not agreeing a general election before 2022. By that time apathy will reign and any GE will have a low turnout and a coalition will probably result which will argue the 2016 ‘snapshot’ referendum is no longer valid and the only safe course is to remain in the EU. I’m gradually coming to terms with this. It’s necessary in order to stay sane. Even my Leave voting daughter now thinks the referendum was all a mistake. Life goes on.

  43. Mark Richmond
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John, You may well be right. I believe you are right, as do many people who comment on this blog. But clearly, three years on, your arguments have not been persuasive in parliament. In fact, the only thing parliament has so far united on is a desire to avoid precisely the outcome you advocate.

    The political reality for Brexiteers now is that Boris must get his deal through by 31 October. If Boris does not succeed the risk that Brexit won’t happen will rise with each passing day because the People’s vote campaign is well funded and well resourced; while there is simply no one with the same credibility advocating a WTO scenario.

    Theresa May’s deal was genuinely awful but by rejecting it even then Brexiteers took a risk that Brexit would thereby be thwarted. The risk was worth taking because (1) remaining in the EU was a better option than May’s deal and (2) Brexiteers could point to a different leader waiting in the wings who might do things differently and better. And taking the risk then has led to a better outcome now.

    But you are in danger of focussing on the better outcome obtained by obstruction and forgetting the risks and the reasons for your success. In contrast to May’s deal, Boris’ deal is far better than staying in the EU (despite not being optimal) and there is no one else who could become leader who would do a better job.

    This is it IMVHO. Any delay beyond 31 October rapidly increases the political risk of no Brexit. Please take the deal.

  44. William Long
    October 21, 2019

    What you are suggesting has always seemed a sensible way forward. Moving to it now would also presumably have the advantage for Johnson that it would immediately sidestep the various elephant traps that it seems the Remain opposition are planning for him this week. Why does he not do so? Is it just because he has indoctrinated himself to the view that his is the only deal on earth? There is presumably still time?

  45. Iain Gill
    October 21, 2019

    Get a fifty percent plus one majority to overturn the fixed term parliament act, call an election, do a deal with the Brexit party.

    That is the optimal way ahead.

  46. James Bertram
    October 21, 2019

    ‘If we did it now it would avoid the unhappy parts of the Withdrawal Agreement and the further 15 month delay in exit.’

    Sir John, it is far worse than this. Farage correctly argues that there is little likelihood of getting things sorted by July 2020, thus we will have to seek an extension to negotiations to December 2022 – six years on from the 2016 vote to Leave.
    In no way does this ‘Get it done’ as Johnson claims. However, we could truly get it done by leaving on 31st October with a ‘No Deal’ (clean-break) Brexit.

    Thank you for your efforts in trying to persuade your colleagues not to support Johnson’s appalling Surrender Treaty – and instead, to put the interests of the country ahead of uniting the Tory party.
    I wish you the very best of luck.

  47. alan jutson
    October 21, 2019

    Could not agree more JR what is happing in Parliament at the moment is a farce.

  48. Lorna
    October 21, 2019

    An excellent idea but it was my understanding that the EU wanted assurances about Ireland and a backstop arrangement before any discussion would take place
    They have outrightly refused Alternative arrangements involving technology
    What Sir John has not stated is how this would pass our Remain dominated Parliament?
    I could not see this Plan having a swift passage through Parliament without the current attempts to tie us to the Customs Union and EU regulations

  49. Ian Wilson
    October 21, 2019

    The absence from the Cabinet of yourself and Owen Paterson, the two MPs for whom I have the greatest respect, has been a huge loss to the country. I can only suppose it has been because you both stand up for your principles rather than acquiesce in party lines.

  50. Javelin
    October 21, 2019

    Ah. … but the queue at passport control will be 1 minute longer.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 22, 2019

      Actually, you’ll find that at Continental airports, the queues for non-European Union passport holders, for flights to the UK can be about three hours longer than the other.

      Enjoy for what you voted.

      If you can afford to leave the country, that is.

      1. Edward2
        October 22, 2019

        I’ve travelled for decades all over the world.
        Never has there been a three hour delay to clear customs.
        More ridiculous Project Fear from you.

  51. John Brown
    October 21, 2019

    Our undemocratic, unrepresentative and pro EU Parliament are intent on cooking up a rotten “deal” with the EU in order to put it against remain in a second referendum. This has been the plan from the start.

    But however bad is this deal we need to vote for it and not for remain so that we have left the EU and the current “ever closer union” treaties.

    We need to salvage something from the referendum result and not just totally capitulate and vote to remain. Just as we didn’t surrender after Dunkirk but saved the lives of as many soldiers as possible, salvaged what we could, and fought on.

    The pro-EU Parliament deal may be colonial status – as described by Mr. Verhofstadt’s staff – but then even more so is remaining in the EU and under the control of unelected and un-removable Marxist bureaucrats together with QMV between 27 (soon to be 34) other countries.

    Out of the EU we have a far better chance of voting for a Parliament who will be more interested in looking after the people of the UK rather than EU interests and will fight for our eventual freedom.

  52. ukretired123
    October 21, 2019

    Totally agree with Sir John.

    It is vital to base Brexit on the simple foundation of Keep it Simple – Leave.
    The KISS principle is vital for both sides to avoid a spaghetti entanglement tying everyone in legal knots with added language translation in 20+ languages and everyone loses!

    Out will focus everyones minds.
    Anything else is not democratic.

  53. ChrisS
    October 21, 2019

    Sounds to me like you’re preparing to reluctantly back Boris’ deal, even though, as we all agree, it is a “sub-optimal” option.

    The simple fact is that the possibility of Brexit happening at all is now on a Knife-edge. The Remainers have done everything they can and more to undermine and cancel Brexit and they still might succeed with the active support and encouragement of Labour’s unrepresentative Islington set.

    Without the DUP on board, every Leave-inclined MP’s vote is vital and if we are to secure Brexit, any kind of Brexit, the current deal is the only one in town.
    I hope you can bring yourself to vote for it.

  54. old salt
    October 21, 2019

    We will not leave until there is a majority Leave establishment in the UK and the EU allowing us to do so and with the People’s Vote campaign gaining momentum hopes are diminishing.

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

  55. libertarian
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John

    All of this is pointless while the rogue Speaker and the rogue opposition have seized control of parliament by way of 20 non Conservative Tory MPs

    Any legislation that sees us leaving the EU will not make it through parliament, they are making stuff up in order to stay in the EU.

    Our fragile democratic processes have finally been caught out , something that was always going to happen eventually

  56. tim
    October 21, 2019

    Leave team getting behind the Withdrawal Agreement route. The Remain team including all Opposition parties seems united, determined to use court actions, rushed hostile legislation and any Commons opportunity to delay or prevent Brexit, EVEN A SINGLE CELLED CREATURE CAN SEE A TOTAL REMAIN PARLIAMENT.

  57. Lynn Atkinson
    October 21, 2019

    The sheer incompetence of Tory politicians in Government is breathtaking. Nobody in the world can believe we are such helpless victims – so lost! We deserve no respect and will get none.
    Your advice is the ONLY solution. If Boris had not really wanted to part-Remain he would NEVER have reverted to the House of Commons, which has expressed its will and legislated.
    The betrayal of the DUP, who save the U.K. by thwarting Mrs May, is unforgivable!

  58. bill brown
    October 21, 2019

    Sir JR

    The government has instigated its own weakening of its negotiation position, it did not need Parliament to help them do that, by putting forward a not very realistic initial proposal

  59. David J
    October 21, 2019

    The WA tug of war continues- the fight for the solution that nobody (Leave or Remain) wanted…. We have descended into a Punch and Judy show which seemingly too could go on for the foreseeable future.
    One question. What is the new divorce bill? No one is talking about it?

  60. Andy (the real one)
    October 21, 2019

    If, as the Speaker maintained, the Benn Surrender Act does not impinge upon the Prerogative in anyway then a simple solution is for Boris to denouce all EU Treaties forthwith and we Leave. As to a Free Trade Agreement the EU are never going to agree to a simple agreement but will want all sorts of bells and whistles added to it so it can poke its nose in UK affairs. I would rather have nothing to do with the EU at all.

    1. Pominoz
      October 21, 2019

      Andy (the real one),

      Great that you have distinguished yourself. The likelihood at your posts will simply be skipped over are now diminished.

      1. Anonymous
        October 22, 2019

        I think The Anti Andy would have been a better moniker.

    2. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      We do more trade with the USA and the RotW than the EU. But BREXIT is a political decision not an economic one. It is about self governance, so yes, I am not feeling pressured to negotiate a FTA with the EU.

  61. formula57
    October 21, 2019

    Your efforts on behalf of us all continue to be much appreciated.

    It is the pity of the world that you have had to deal with quislings and those too timid and myopic to recognize where Britain’s interests and strengths lie.

  62. ian
    October 21, 2019

    That is not how to leave the EU, how to leave the EU, you revoke Article 50, and then send a letter saying you’re leaving the following week, that how you leave the EU, you take it out the court’s hands and parliament hands and just leave the EU.

    Once Article 50 is gone, you can leave anytime you want to.

  63. James Bertram
    October 21, 2019

    Looks like you and the Brexit Party are in total agreement, Sir John.

    Here is Ben Habib on twitter:
    Ben Habib
    16h16 hours ago
    Here’s a plan for @BorisJohnson if he truly believes in Brexit: do not bring your new deal forward in Parliament for a vote. You have complied with the Benn Act. Now coast through to 31/10. Wait for the EU [to] blink and name your terms or leave with no deal

    Just plain common sense – if you truly believe in Brexit, and want to do the best for your country.

  64. ian
    October 21, 2019

    As I have said from the start, invoking Article 50 was the worst thing you could do and I have been proven right.

    1. Martin in Cardiff
      October 22, 2019

      Hi, Dominic.

  65. Edwardm
    October 21, 2019

    Such sense by JR.
    The big question to me is why is JR’s position over the last three years and suggestion for the way ahead not universally shared in the HoC (at least by Leaver MPs and any democratic Remainer MPs).
    It’s clean, straight forward, and gives us what we want (FTA or WTO depending on EU), as opposed to complication and paying unwarranted money to the EU.
    I thank JR for persisting to argue for common sense solutions in the HoC.

  66. Geoffrey Berg
    October 21, 2019

    Yes, John Redwood, I agree that what you want is the optimal choice for E.U.withdrawal. I (like huge numbers who voted for Brexit) am persuaded. Unfortunately, let alone the government, virtually no other M.Ps are persuaded. Boris Johnson’s deal is the best sub-optimal choice we are ever likely to get and at least genuinely gets us pretty well out of the E.U. If it is not supported it is likely we will either not leave at all or even if we did leave it would be after yet more damaging delay and on much worse terms.
    So assuming the actual alternative to leaving on Johnson’s deal is unlikely to be leaving this month without a deal, I think as the best available sub-optimal choice, the Johnson deal should be supported.

  67. ed2
    October 21, 2019

    I have given this consistent advice since 2016. Had Mrs May followed it we would have left a long time ago and would probably have an FTA by now.

    This is true, I have been a witness to the fact JR spoke blatant common sense from the start and has been completely ignored…. and still it, which proves to me we have yet to have a truly Brexit govt.

  68. ed2
    October 21, 2019

    with the Leave team getting behind the Withdrawal Agreement route

    Do they know it’s not binding, we can escape it? Because if not they have all lost the plot suddenly.

  69. ed2
    October 21, 2019

    No one who supports WA version 1 or version 2 is a Leaver, they are playing for a second referendum and to remain.

  70. ian
    October 21, 2019

    After leaving the EU. You do not talk to them till they talk to you first, you just get on with tariffs and indemnify all farmers and manufacturers against tariffs loses

  71. ian
    October 21, 2019

    I am looking to make a profit for the people of the UK out of leaving the EU on tariffs and the money back that the UK pay to them of 12 billion pounds to spend as they want, plus 3 billion profit on the tariffs after paying out all companies and farmers on their tariffs loses.

    I will not be satisfied until that 15 billion pounds are showing up in the UK people bank account.

    1. hefner
      October 22, 2019

      £15bn for 66m people. When do you expect your £227?

  72. Karen Faulkner
    October 21, 2019

    This is good but what is your proposal for managing the Irish border question? I think there must be a proper answer to that for more people to get on board with No Deal.

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      The Irish border question is a red herring. NI does more trade with the rUK than it does with the RoI. 85% Of UK business do not trade with the EU. The EU sells more to the UK than we to it.

      The EU says it is concerned that the border represents a threat to the EU Single Market and Customs Union. But no one has stated that the UK, upon Leaving, will have its own Single Market and Customs Union and, taking into consideration the above, represents a greater threat to us than we to them.

      The UK Government has offered solutions but, all the EU keeps saying is that is not good enough. A border is a share responsibility and, it up to both the UK and the EU to find a solution that protects both markets.

      The Irish government is under pressure from Sinn Fein. To help them out in the polls they need to do something that pulls NI away from the UK. This the EU have unwittingly agreed to do. The Irish government is also concerned that, a UK that is free from the EU would mean not only the loss of a valuable market but, a free land bridge to the rest of the EU as the UK will no longer be in the EEA and so no longer bound by the Four Freedoms.

      Sorry to you and our host for the long winded reply.

  73. Rule Britannia
    October 21, 2019

    WTO / FTA is also my preference, however the government would not be able to adopt that as a stated aim since the remoaners would kick into overdrive with their wrecking legislation.

    However, pulling the WA Bill legislation if it is amended may get closer to no-WA exit and the nearer we get to 31/10 the more the options become viable. If Johnson were to send a letter cancelling his forced letter of 19/10 then we could see a round of put the Bill forward then withdraw it when they put forward amendments.

    Let’s face it, the HoL is never going to let it through, certainly not without tacking on amendments that are unacceptable, so this whole process is about showing the country the true motivations of the various actors – and showing the EU that the only way to leave is the FTA/WTO route.

    I think WTO / FTA may now be the only way to get it done, given this parliament, and I hope and expect that the govt knows this.

    Hopefully, this is all a strategy to not only justify that type of exit but also to provide a clear moral basis for repeal of the FTPA, reform of the HoL and disbanding the Supreme Court, hopefully returning to the Law Lords.

    They will of course try to force through wrecking legislation, but that is the time when the govt must challenge lack of Queen’s Consent, money orders and, if necessary, refuse Royal Assent.

  74. Johnny Dubb
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John.
    The Realm is at risk. Perhaps it is time for a Knight of the Realm to ask his Queen to dissolve Parliament.
    A tad old fashioned I know, but then so are the rituals of the HOC.
    Take Sir William with you for company.

  75. Iain
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John , Have you spoken directly with Boris re your posting today ?. If not I think it is time you did. On this forum most of us are with you. Surely he will spare you a few minutes or does he not speak to backbenchers ?

  76. Rhoddas
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John, I agree the EU has always used hostile behaviour and tactics to exert its influence on recalcitrant countries within the EU sphere (Greece/Italy/Ireland), compared to others further away where it can and does trade deals, like Canada and Japan. We are in the former camp sadly, why May and now Boris have failed to recognise and acknowledge this and deal with it defies the imagination.

    Boris’s WA2 is another transition colony treaty, one of UK subservience, continuing payments and EU control, any proposed new FTA will never happen if this treaty is approved. See this very good summary:

    As said elsewhere in replies, the EU claim it won’t negotiate an FTA until we’ve paid a ludicrous divorce payment, sorted out people rights etc… nevertheless to reinstate our honourable democracy, fought so hard for over centuries, we now have to just leave, a clean exit and start to deal with matters having left. Proper Preparation Prevents P1ss Poor Performance, the 6xP’s, and so Mr Gove we are relying heavily on your Brexit prep team.

    Yes a tough-ish year will follow, but with effort, tenacity and the new found freedom to make our own trade deals, set our own tariffs and taxation levels, the bounce and additional growth from outside the EU will more than mitigate the worst the EU decide to do to us. And our fishing territiory becomes ours again, fantastic!

    We do need a new parliament and parties to support this view, not one controlled by the rabid remainers and manipulated via a biased Speaker. Everyone is really fed up now and Leave voters are furious; retribution at the overdue GE will change UK politics dramatically, though Boris does need to work out a framework with Nigel, otherwise a split Leave vote might let the Corbynistas grab a coalition with SNP/Limp dims, then we’re completely screwed…. remain win, House of Commons becomes irrelevent as EU hoovers up more powers…. 10 years from now I forsee an England Regional Assembly complementing those in place in Scotland, Wales and NI. The demise of the UK is thus complete. Which I suspect is what the EU wants… and how it’s been negotiating all along…

  77. David J
    October 21, 2019

    Funny- I just heard that a German representative was falling over themselves to say “It goes without saying that the UK will be offered and extension…”. I wonder why that would be? 🙂

    1. Andy (the real one)
      October 22, 2019

      Didn’t Merkel say in Athens in answer to a question that the UK would not be allowed to leave.

  78. Denis Cooper
    October 21, 2019

    Here is Nigel Farage talking a certain amount of rubbish to Sophy Ridge yesterday:

    He concludes:

    “I haven’t spent twenty five years campaigning for us to become an independent country to swap one EU treaty for another EU treaty.”

    However as I have pointed out here earlier:

    if he is really so scared of the UK remaining bound by any treaty at all with the EU – what he calls an “EU treaty”, even though that term is usually applied just to the treaties which the EU member states have made with each other:

    – then logically he must also reject the WTO treaties, upon which he is actually relying as the fallback or default position if we were to leave the EU without any special trade deal, or indeed without any deal at all about anything at all.

    Incidentally while I cannot match his record in any respect it is over twenty years since I did my small local bit to help get him in the EU Parliament, and then started organising public meetings across Berkshire with decent audiences for him to address, and I do not want him or anybody else to now snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  79. BillM
    October 21, 2019

    I’ve said it before. Mr Donald Tusk, EU Commissioner told Mrs May way back in 2016 that in order to discuss a future trade deal we must first Leave the EU. She ignored the offer.
    Just what was the problem with that Mrs May?
    Three Years plus some VAT we have waited in which YOU have wasted time and taxpayers money faffing around with the whims of those Remainers who have vested interests in the EU.
    These anti-democracy people only came out of the woodwork preying on the incompetence of the previous PM. Had we had a Leave PM with a Leave Cabinet in 2016, as SJ says, a FTA with the EU would already be in process with many more across the globe.
    Better late then never but let’s leave on the 31st without a deal and finally commence those actions we should have taken three years ago.

  80. Rob Pearce
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John,

    If this Withdrawal Bill becomes ratified on both sides, we will be stuck in the transition period which legally is optionally open-ended. Remain will have won.

    The remainers will find endless reasons to extend the transition, in which we will be worse off than now. And they run the country, don’t they.

    Please God why can’t all your colleagues see this??

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      They are in the Westminster bubble and have little contact outside their own rarefied air. They also suffer from, Group Think. Remember their surprise when Leave won ? They just could not believe that we did not want to be part of the EU and still do not understand why. Hence why we need another GE.

  81. Denis Cooper
    October 21, 2019

    Here is an email I have just sent to the DUP MP Jim Shannon, subject heading:

    “What will undermine the integrity of the Union”

    and referring to this article::

    “”The DUP has vowed to oppose Mr Johnson’s amended deal over fears it will damage Northern Ireland’s economy and “undermine the integrity of the Union”.”

    I’ll tell you what will do that more than importers from GB having to fill out customs declarations* – 10 MEPs from a part of the UK with 3% of the total UK population and less than 2% of the total UK GDP and reportedly receiving £11 billion a year in subsidies from the rest of the UK, in particular from England – about £5000 per capita per annum – continuing to vote to keep the rest of us in the EU as they did on Saturday.

    * Have you asked whether it really will be necessary for all importers to fill out customs declarations, even if they have nothing to declare? Why can’t the imposition of customs declarations be restricted to consignments which will attract customs duties, with all other consignments effectively going through a “Nothing to declare” channel?””

  82. Dennis
    October 21, 2019

    I have never heard any Brexiteer, government or ‘civilian’ on any media, BBC, LBC, ITV etc., etc. say to Remainers, ‘do you not mind that our rebate will stop in 2020 as in the Lisbon Treaty?’ and the UK and other members lose their their abstention veto in 2020 also in the Lisbon Treaty and all member states must adopt the Euro by 2022, also in th Lisbon Treaty etc., etc.

    Am I mistaken in any of these? Please advise – thanks.

    Strange that no one on Boris’ side in govt. has put out any statement of what remaining in the EU would or might mean for the UK. I think they all must be closet remainers, no?

    1. Mark B
      October 22, 2019

      I take it that your post was a little tongue in cheek. But I think our kind host has asked Remainers here to explain their reasons for wanting to Remain in the Stupid Club.

  83. Lindsay McDougall
    October 21, 2019

    I trust that if the House of Commons refuses to approve Mr Johnson’s deal, he will announce on Friday 1st November that we have (past tense) left the European Union and are no longer subject to decisions of the European Commission and the jurisdiction of the ECJ.

    Once the fact of our exit has been established, the House of Commons can take as long as it likes to pass retrospective legislation rubber stamping the decision.

  84. Richard416
    October 21, 2019

    Sir John, Brilliant intervention in the house tonight (21.10.2019) by yourself and Mr Owen Paterson too. No such thing as “No Deal”. No withdrawal treaty means many small agreements.

  85. steve
    October 21, 2019


    OK, point:

    1) We owe Europe nothing, Europe owes us.

    2) EU citizens in this country have their rights guaranteed.

    3) Actually if we choose to put up a border on British sovereign territory, it has nothing to do with the ROI, and is none of Varadkar’s business.

    4) German car manufacturers would have issues with Ms Merkel, which would not be our problem. Besides, reducing the number of egotists on the roads can only be a good thing.

    1. Martinez
      October 22, 2019


      1/ Britain owes 39 billion – government has already agreed this sum

      2/ Not entirely if we leave to a crash – there will be scramble both ways

      3/ might not be ROI business but am sure dissidents within NI will start up

      4/ Yes IDS already told us how German car workers would shape everything

    2. Martin in Cardiff
      October 22, 2019

      3) Erm, it does if you’ve signed a solemn international treaty with Ireland not to do that, endorsed by the European Union and by the United States.

      Do you understand anything at all?

  86. Ian Pennell
    October 21, 2019

    Dear Sir John Redwood,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis, if indeed it is perfectly legal to do down this route without going against the spirit of the Benn Act (the Inner House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh will continue to monitor Boris Johnson to see that he does not do anything to make it more likely that the EU will reject an extension)- then you should prevail upon Boris Johnson to tear up his existing Deal if/ when Remainer MPs attach amendments to his new Brexit Deal now just presented to the House of Commons.

    Technically, Boris Johnson has obeyed the Benn Act and I see the SNP-appointed Judges in the Court of Session have not issued an Injunction “Forbidding Boris Johnson from Doing Anything to Get the EU to Kick Britain Out on 31st October”. But we now have ten crucial days and if the Prime Minister is bold and brave- willing to risk arrest and possible Jail- he would lobby the EU and EU Governments not to grant a Brexit Delay.

    If Boris Johnson pulls his Deal and asks the EU for an off-the-shelf Canada-type free trade agreement by 31st October it would be better both for the EU and Britain than “No Deal”: It could hardly be argued that Boris Johnson is trying to get Britain out of the EU without a Deal in Court by doing this. However, if the EU say “No way!” then Boris Johnson MUST go all-out go for “No Deal” Brexit, even at the risk of his freedom!

    If Boris Johnson invoked Emergency Powers legislation at the end of this week – in order to override the Benn Act- the Courts wont be open until Monday 28th October (which is when the EU Council Meeting to decide about a Brexit Delay will be). In case the Courts on Mon. 28th rendered Emergency Powers null and void and then imposed an Injunction on Boris Johnson, he could get more Armed Security to protect him and his Ministers from arrest: This would buy the Government an extra 48 to 72 hours at a crucial time (28th to 31st Oct.) to sabotage the EU and forcefully persuade them to deny further Delay.

    Please Sir, do what you can to put some real courage into the Prime Minister. This is one of those rare times when taking a stand for what is right could risk arrest and jail. He must be emboldened to do the right thing – and fast! 17.4 million voters want Brexit to happen!

    Ian Pennell

  87. ed2
    October 21, 2019

    Why does Rees Mog choose a day where he knows baying crowds will be harassing him to take his young son to Westminster? I told you from the start. Do not trust this man. He has been put up as a hate figure, a divisive character and has lost us a lot of support, especially from Labour people.

    1. Anonymous
      October 22, 2019

      I’d only do it if my kid started lecturing me and needed a lesson on reality.

  88. ed2
    October 21, 2019

    they hold all of the cards. You have none

    None? Really Andy? You believe that, do you? a market of 66 million on Europe’s doorstep?

  89. ian
    October 21, 2019

    I do not know to want the Irish border has to do with Brittan, NI has its own parliament and can take care of it own border if it wants to, it has nothing to do with the borders in Brittan.

    Smuggling goes on all-time on the Irish border, which will carry on, the UK, the Irish government and the EU have never interfered with it, to say you could smuggle large amounts of goods that way is wrong because it would show up in the amount of traffic using that route and the need for more ferries.

    It is a forceful argument and always has been but the merit behind that argument is wrong, the cost of smuggling goods that way is very expensive and if one load is stoped that’s all the smuggles profit gone.

    As for companies and the single market, that up to companies to comply with all regs of the EU, not the UK government, the companies already comply with all EU regs and i do not see why that wouldn’t carry on as now, the different rules and regs on goods around the world are ongoing all the time and any companies that wish to export need to comply with every countries rule and regs as now.

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