UK/EU talks

I held a conference in Westminster yesterday on the EU talks.

I was able to praise the government for its opening approach. They are right to insist on talking about all issues in a series of simultaneous working groups. They are right to say we want a Free Trade Agreement, not a comprehensive Partnership Agreement or Association Agreement designed for countries seeking to converge and join the EU. They are right to stress there is no read across from say fishing to free trade. Each has to be settled on its own merits.

The EU still seems to think the UK is the weak party to the talks and needs to make more concessions. It also seems to think the UK will be so desperate for a deal it will crack and concede on fishing, convergence of laws, powers of the ECJ and all the rest of their federal agenda.

The Conference provided unified advice. We do not need to pay to trade. An FTA is very much in the EU’s interest. We need to take control of our fish and land many more of them at home. We want to free ourselves of the controls of the ECJ, and will establish the right to shape our own laws as we see fit. Canada and Japan have FTAs with the EU but do not accept EU laws and the ultimate power of the ECJ. Our defence arrangements should be under our control, and our main collaboration through NATO. We should not impose any border between Northern Ireland and GB and not accept any continuing EU jurisdiction over any part of the UK from January 1. 2021.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Good Morning Sir John,

    The ONLY way to receive a reasonable response from the EU bureaucracy (NOT the same as the European nations) is to make it clear we CAN and will walk away without much difficulty; therefore comprehensive preparations to walk away must be undertaken immediately.

    I was amazed to read how much has already been spent, and how many people involved in preparations to leave. Having spent so much and employed so many people I’d have thought we’d be more than ready by now and could leave without any fuss.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Peter, do you understand, that whatever might be agreed by the European Union’s negotiators will have to be approved by the nations’ MEPs and by the Council of (their) Ministers? And that any of the twenty-seven leaders may have a veto?

      For that reason those negotiators will be very mindful of the general consensus of the nations.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        And you would have us believe that (collective decision making) is an efficient way to conduct relations Marty

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          But you carp about the European Union being a “dictatorship”.

          Please explain how a collective decision-making dictatorship works?


          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            It isn’t collective decision making.
            28 nations all with a vote but only 9 paying in.
            Majority voting wins with a few exceptions There is now a fast reducing areas of qualified majority voting and power of veto.
            Most decisions are made on the basis that members have signed various treaties and the law or rule or regulation or directive is a necessary part of that treaty.

    • jerry
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      @Peter Woods; I agree we must be both ready and prepared to walk away if the EC is not willing to be reasonable and constructive (and I do not mean that to sound one sided, we need to lead by example), but should the UK so walk we should not allow spite or malice to affect our dealing wit the EU27 as some suggest further down…

  2. Pominoz
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    100% agree with all you say.

    there have been concerns raised over the past months by quite a few contributors about Boris’s will to deliver Brexit as you and many of us see it. Despite concerns over HS2 , Climate etc, on the home front, I am reasonably content with the rhetoric regarding the future relationship with the EU.

    There is no need to make concessions on the important (or perhaps any) aspects, particularly when CANZUK and the US are eager to agree FTAs which will deliver real benefits, rather than drag caused by EU membership.

  3. Mark B
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    I seem to remember, from Edward Heath to Theresa May MP, that they all started tough but, in the end, folded. This is because we go to them for things. We are the beggars, not the EEC/EU. The EU have most of what they want anyway thanks to our current PM folding and hoodwinking everyone into thinking that BREXIT was done. Come the end of June, when he will have to decide on whether the UK, once again, has to beg for an extension, we will see. So far with this PM, Government and Parliament, the signs do not look good.

    • NickC
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, The rhetoric from Boris seems to me to be superior to that from Theresa May. But it still is just rhetoric, and some of it sounds awfully similar. Given the betrayals of the past 4 years, I will only believe actions.

      A major hindrance to keeping tabs on Boris is the near universal belief amongst the ill-informed, fostered by the Boris government, that we have left the EU. It is of course the sheerest nonsense, and dangerous to boot. The UK has abrogated the EU treaties (TEU, TFEU, etc) but signed right back up to control by the EU in the shape of the WA treaty. It is better than pre 31 Jan, and it is time limited, but Leave it ain’t.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        You are correct, most people are under the apprehension and misguided belief that we have left……we haven’t

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Nor will the UK ever by your ridiculous definition, which would mean that it is part of the US because of NATO and extradition treaties, part of a union of forty-seven countries through ECHR, and would be one of hundreds through WTO, along with a global one through climate accords, CFC ban etc.

          There will be treaties with the European Union, on trade, security, military and intelligence, research, and many more matters.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            But those are all voluntary agreements that independent nations decide are mutually beneficial.
            Unlike being ruled by the EU.
            No longer will they make our laws.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            As was the Withdrawal Agreement voluntary, and the Treaties with the other European Union countries before that.

            The greater “we” made our own laws, but only within the strictly limited remit of the Treaties.

            Don’t say silly things if you can help it.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Those Treaties were used to say every law after signing were part of the details of the treaty.
            We had to sign or leave effectively.
            Remember “seat at the top table” and ” at the heart of Europe”
            It translated to:- you have toaccept all the laws we pass.

  4. agricola
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Sounds about right. Now we need to ensure there is no slippage as time passes. How long before the EU realise they are on the wrong tack because they are dealing with a sovereign nation. If they don’t we have options , they have consequences.

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    100%correct. So no backsliding from the negotiators.
    We voted out, not half in, half out.
    Barnier is a disgrace. P

  6. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    If only we could be confident this would happen John but too often the promises have not transpired and too many people want us to be tied on some way or another to the commands of the EU. Some of the threats coming from Brussels are hardly neighbourly or friendly. I just hope the Coronavirus isn’t used as an excuse to extend negotiations beyond Dec.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      FUS – I know for a fact that some of those that will “negotiate” for the UK come from the Treasury and are dedicated Remainders – they need to be weeded out and replaced with committed UK supporting Civil Servants

  7. Tabulazero
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Yet again you make the mistake of thinking you know better than the EU what is good for the EU.

    I don’t think you even realise how arrogant this sounds.

    Reply I do not claim to speak for the EU but I do study their statements and think about their underlying reality. Most pro EU people on this site seem to think the EU should be free of all critical analysis as if it were different from normal governments subject to constant criticism.

  8. Nig l
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Presumably the BBC didn’t report it? Wouldn’t have liked the messages but I do. Please continue the Sparton’s work until the ink is dry on the agreement with no selling out.

    Fishing in particular. Taking back control but then at the same time authorising the status quo which seems to be what the Minister signalled recently is legal tautology. I still fear that will happen across the piece.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      EU fishing quotas = UK issuing fishing licences

      It will be the same just the wording will change

      But sold to UK public as a win

  9. Shirley M
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    If the government delivers on their promises to the electorate, it may go some way towards restoring trust. The talk sounds good, but can Boris walk the walk? We’ll wait and see. We have no other choice really.

    Sovereignty and self government should not be bartered away to appease anyone. It would be a short term fix that would cause long term problems, as we saw with EU membership.

  10. Len Grinds
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    You voted in favour of Boris’s deal in Parliament but it seems you were too lazy actually to read it. The Withdrawal Agreement explicitly accepts a border between Northern Ireland and GB so as to permit customs checks and phytosanitary checks. And if you take a look at Article 12 of the Protocol on Northern Ireland you will see that the EU has jurisdiction (including the ECJ) over Northern Ireland in perpetuity. You don’t even know what you voted for!

    Reply I know exactly what is in the Agreement, and have long argued that the UK government must stick to its promise of no border between GB and NI. This is either taken care of in the current negotiations or it will prove unenforceable to require the UK to impose a border where we do not want one.

    • Dennis
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      JR – so you agree that that is in the Article 12 of the Protocol on Northern Ireland.

      It seems a sticky point.

      • Tory in Cumbria
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Sticky is right Dennis! Mr Redwood obviously hasn’t read the Withdrawal Agreement. If he had, he’d know that requiring the UK to impose a border between NI and GB is guaranteed by Article 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement. That says that our English courts will enforce the Withdrawal Agreement against the UK government if it breaches it, because Article 4 means that the Withdrawal Agreement is supreme over English law. It’s all there in the Withdrawal act which Mr Redwood voted for but I don’t expect he read that either!

        Reply I raised these issues and was assured the U.K. refuses to place a border between NI and GB

  11. Bruxelles
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    How delightful that you Brits have reached an agreement with yourselves and delightful too that you know what’s best for the EU. Tell me, who represented the EU at your precious conference? Had anyone actually read the EU’s negotiating mandate? You poor people, you still think you have an Empire don’t you. You’ll learn – eventually

    Reply Being arrogant and making false allegations has done big damage to the Remain campaign. Yes of course I had a speaker giving us an informed view of the positions of Barnier and Macron – as the EU hawk in this situation -and many of us have read the EU statement. The UK government has responded to their mantra by pointing out we do not want their kind of Comprehensive Partnership so we do need to make lots of concessions to get it.

    • LinJ
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps ‘Bruxelles’ should read today’s piece in
      Yes, arrogant is certainly the word I’d use too.

  12. Stred
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    A good negotiating stance would be to offer make continental cars with the steering wheel on our side in this country. In order to encourage this, a 25& tariff on cars would apply but not to Korean, Japanese and American cars as we would quickly agree a zero deal with them. The EU would only be able to apply 10% tariff to UK cars. The zero deal with the US would be helpful to JLR and other luxury makes.

    • bill brown
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


      I am afraid that sot of arragement is not possible according to WTO rules

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      A 25% tariff on cars would be illegal under WTO. The maximum allowed is 10%.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Then how does the EU charge 25% on US imports.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          It doesn’t.

          The MFN schedule tariff is 10%.

          • miami.mode
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:21 am | Permalink

            PP, the EU tax on US-made Harley Davidsons is 31% and is due to rise to 56% next year. You could say they were hogtied.


          • jerry
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            @miami.mode; But that was in response to the USA placing tariffs on certain EU made goods, not simply because the USA would not sign TTIP, which is the direct parallel to what @Stred suggested…

            Anything can happen if a protectionist trade/tariff war is started!

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            The standard WTO tariff on motorcycles is 6% to 8% depending on engine size.

            The increased tariffs on Harleys (and other goods) are retaliatory trade measures in response to what Trump did with steel and aluminium tariffs into the USA, a trade war started by Trump.

            Harley have suffered as the consequence of the actions of the President of the USA.

          • jerry
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            @PP; “a trade war started by Trump”

            I think you’ll find it was in response to (perceived?) dumping of cheap steel and aluminium by producers in the EU and other countries, whilst those countries (especially the EU) blocked cheaper agricultural produce from being exported by the USA.

            What is more I suspect the silly spiteful action by the EU, imposing punitive tariffs [1] upon the UK consumer did more to cement Brexit than anything else!

            [1] on far more than just Harley Davidsons

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            Trump applied the 25% steel tariffs globally. Initially the EU was exempt, but Trump then changed that after 3 months and applied it to every country in the world, including those the USA has a FTA with. To quote Trump “Trade Wars are good and easy to win”.

            The EU simply retaliated in kind to Trump’s tariffs, as WTO rules permit. That’s not silly or spiteful. I would reserve those words to describe Trump’s initial actions.

            Also, this all started in 2018, so I doubt it had any effect on a referendum which took place two years earlier in 2016.

          • jerry
            Posted March 10, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            @PP; “Trump applied the 25% steel tariffs globally.”

            As WTO rules dictate, one tariff for all.

            So you accept that Trump simply was responding to asymmetrical tariffs/protectionism applied by other countries towards the USA – the problem was the EU refusal to allow perfectly safe US products tariff free into the EU, or even allowing them in at all in the case of USA some agricultural produce.

            Trump did not tear up existing FTAs as you would like us believe.

            Also no one was suggesting this has an affect on the Brexit referendum, Trump wasn’t even in the White House then, but it could very well have an effect on post Brexit UK trade negotiations with the EU, the USA and RotW.

        • jerry
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          @Ian Wragg; I think you will find that is an accumulated total % on USA automotive imports in to the EU, not the tariff on finished motor vehicles (which is 10% under WTO rules), but includes parts.

          A bit out of date publication date wise but I doubt any of the facts have changed, see the paragraph entitled “Current Barriers to Transatlantic Trade” in the following URL;

    • jerry
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      @Stred; Some very dangerous assumptions there! It could actually pre-empt the sort of situation those on the Remain side of the referendum warned about (which Brexiteers claimed was mere “Project fear”)…

      We can not assume a US FTA, at least all the time the UK Govt are sticking to their red lines with regards agricultural produce etc.

      With UK produced vehicles subjected to a 10% tariff it would place great uncertainly on UK car manufacturing plants, especially now Vauxhall is owned by the French PSA group, why would they carry on making LHD products destined for the EU27 market here in the UK when they have ample and spare capacity in their EU27 plants. Would Japanese car manufactures be happy to have 10% put on the cost of building EU27 LHD models here in the UK. What of EU27 made Kia cars, surely UK spec, EU27 made RHD vehicles would fall victim to your EU punishment 25% tariff.

      • Stred
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        We could buy them from Korea and Japan They drive on the same side.

        • jerry
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          Talk about cutting our own nose off to spit the EU!

  13. Dave
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    We should leave first and end all jurisdiction from Brussels. This should have been done years ago. No conditions of any kind should be allowed to be placed on us by the EU. We are wasting £billions just to give them time to subvert our country. End it now.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Who are “they”?

      The four hundred and fifty million people? The twenty-seven leaders? The MEPs?


    • LinJ
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Dave. They’ve shown they’re not prepared to negotiate in good faith.
      We don’t need a ‘trade deal’ to be able to escape the clutches of this regime.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        Please give an example of where the European Union has broken any undertaking that it has made to the UK?

        Golden scenario of ERM
        failure to prop pound in ERM
        Promise to reform CAP in return for giving them more money
        failure to enforce T of Rome re balance of payments deficits
        Failure to keep promise of national control of tax and benefits
        Failure to treat England fairly alongside Scotland, Wales and NI
        Interfered in our referendum
        Failure to enforce Treaty re good treatment of neighbours
        Failure to complete single market in services
        Pressed ahead with common defence when promised not to

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Yes, in the real world there will always be force majeure failures, but that is not the same as bad faith.

          I don’t know how you can claim that there was no common defence aim, when it is an express part of the Lisbon Treaty though.

          Whatever, the UK has now given up its veto on that.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            Force majeure failures…that is an hilarious Orwellian phrase to describe all that dreadful catalogue.

  14. Shirley M
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    The UK should control who fishes in UK waters, not the EU.

    The UK should ban the factory sized sized trawlers that destroy the sea bed, and also ban electric pulse fishing, which kills fish indiscriminately. The act of fishing companies selling off quotas should be banned, If they don’t want their quota then why give it to them? The whole country should benefit from any sales of quotas, not the privileged few.

    All catches should be landed in the UK, so we can monitor the result, and adjust accordingly.

  15. Bryan Harris
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Well done

    Clearly you were the right man at the right time to chair such a conference – Your views on the EU match what most of us feel, so thanks for putting our ideas forward.

    • ian terry
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink


    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      defo +1

  16. Alan Jutson
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Correct, no point in Brexit if we do not control our own affairs.

    Shame we wasted 3 years under Mrs May, could have saved the taxpayers a fortune.

    • ian terry
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      We still could if we walked away at the end of the month.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed dithering & disingenuous May was the worst PMs in my lifetime so far. With some very stiff competition indeed from ERM John Major, Cast Iron Cameron, no return to Boom and Bust, Brown, Heath (who took us into the Europe without any authority from the voters), Wilson and even the counterproductive, war on a clear and blatant lie, Tony Blair.

      Even Mrs Thatcher made huge and very avoidable errors (closing many grammar schools, joining the ERM, appointing Major, falling for climate alarmism, locking us further into the EU, joining the ERM, not cutting taxation sufficiently). Wilson did at least keep us out of Vietnam. Let us hope Boris has learned from all the very, very many errors these dire PMs made.

    • forthurst
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      The Tory party is seriously infested with globalists; these people do not believe in national borders or the nation state. They despise ordinary English people and could not care less that our farmers and fishermen get a very raw deal in the EU. Johnson realised that being openly unpatriotic was damaging the Tory brand in the eyes of its erstwhile supporters so he is taking steps to address this issue; however, it is possible to destroy a nation and its identity as the globalists are doing in the USA simply by opening its borders without any compulsion to do so and there seems little evidence that this is not the intention or the actuality of the new Tory party ethos.

      Globalists are a disease but by owning so much of the media and advertising they can control the public discourse despite the message being innately repellent to most thinking English people. The job will not be done by leaving the EU but by continuing to fight the enemy within, not only within our borders but within the borders of every European nation. Nationalism and patriotism are the tools that the enemy within fears most.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Who ever are this “we”, of whom you so repetitiously write?

      Do you seriously claim, personally, to be a part of national decision-making?

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Hi Martin

        Yes I am part of the decision making system.

        I have an opinion and I vote, so I can comment, just like many others !!!!

        Many do not bother to vote, but still moan, goodness knows why !

    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    A Tory MP finally telling it as it should be. The message to the EU should be clear and defiant, we are taking back control and ownership of our country. There is no debate on this issue. It will happen

    I would like to see the ECJ removed from our lives and the BBC expunged from our world

    • Andy
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Why? I doubt you can even name one ECJ ruling you object to. Even if you Google it.

      • 'None of the above'.
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        You still don’t get it do you?

        The problem is not the judgements themselves (good or bad), it is the fact that we are obliged to be subject to them.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          But that is an outright admission that your objection is simply to the fact that those judgements are made by “foreigners” isn’t it?

          You know what that makes you, I take it?

          • Fred H
            Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            yes – it makes us hold our head up and be proud of self-termination.
            Do you know what those who cower before a less than equal are?

          • dixie
            Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

            a patriot.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            A person who likes democracy?
            A person who wants to live in a nation that makes it’s own laws, controls it’s own budgetscandvmpney and controls it’s own immigration policy?
            A person who wants to vote directly for a Government that acts only for the benefit of his or her country?
            I presume it is one at least of these reasons.
            Or were you trying to play your old race card again.
            It keeps being declined.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

            The question absolutely is not who makes laws but totally whether they are good or bad ones. You stand the matter on its head.

            The foundations of our property law were laid down by the French, by the Normans for instance, and in turn that largely came from the Romans.

            It has served us pretty well, as do those from the European Union, albeit in their very limited remit.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            Complete red herring.
            The basis of our laws that we may ave decided to adopt has no equivalence to being ruled by an undemocratic supra national body.
            Who makes a nation’s laws is the crucial difference between being a free nation and being a nation of slaves.

        • Andy
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          I get it completely.

          You have a hypothetical concern with the idea of shared sovereignty over issues of mutual interest.

          And yet four years on you are still completely unable to name a single ECJ judgment which justifies your hypothetical concern.

          Imagine your shock when you discover the WTO has rules too. As does the UN, NATO – and a whole bunch of other international organisations – all of which impinged on your sovereignty. All rules which you are obliged to follow.

          reply Plenty if adverse judgements e.g. those cutting our corporation tax revenues

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          And we have no real democratic control over them at all nor on any new ones that they want to impose on us!

      • Stred
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Giving prisoners the vote for a start.

        • Peter van LEEUWEN
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          @Stred: Please try and learn to distinguish between ECHR (which works for 800 million people and 47 countries) and ECJ (EU27)

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      The UK never lost control or ownership of itself – it would not have left the European Union if it had, would it?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Read the Lisbon and Mastricht treaties.
        Control over laws regulations directives borders free movement and supremacy of courts was in the power of the EU.
        Leaving was legally achieved by a fortunate clause written into a treaty.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          No one would have agreed the Treaty without that provision.

          That is truly desperate.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

            It wasn’t noticed for years.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            Not by you, along with almost everything else of importance, no.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            I knew about it thanks.
            But most did not.
            The person who wrote said he never envisioned it being used by the UK to leave the EU.
            Try to avoid personal abuse Martin it makes it so obvious how weak your argument is.

  18. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink


  19. Lifelogic
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Exactly right. But will Boris actually stick to this sensible position? He must insist on it or we must just leave on WTO terms.

  20. Kevin
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    “The EU…seems to think the UK will be so desperate for a deal it will crack and concede”

    Unless businesses know with certainty right now what their position is, as of January 1st 2020, on the basis that we do not have an FTA, then I take that as a clear indication that the Government will crack and concede.

    • Kevin
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Correction: January 1st, 2021.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      I believe 30th June is the key date. If the bones of a trade agreement aren’t reached we go WTO.
      If Boris applies for an extension the Tory Party will be history.
      Farage has already registered the Reform Party which the public will overwhelmingly support.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        History would suggest that the trigger date will slip….again

      • Stred
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Boris says he’s taking up his statutory leave for fathers to help their wives admire and look after a baby on June. Carrie on Prime Minister. There will be no more cock ups for six months.

    • LinJ
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      And what is the percentage of UK businesses that trade with the EU?

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        and importantly the number of companies that directly trade with EU, not the supply chain, not ‘through’ trade and not mirror companies….its actually small and mainly large multi national companies

  21. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    John, when you say “the EU seems to think” what do you mean?

    Do you mean that the consensus amongst the leaders of the twenty seven is as you say? Or of the four hundred and fifty million people? Or of the seven hundred plus MEPs from widely different political views? Or of the other institutions?

    The negotiating team for the European Union will be trying to take account of all those, but you, in common with many of the euro-hostile write as if it were a single conscious persona with a particular attitude to the UK and covert agenda.

    The truth is that it would be near-impossible for the negotiators to operate in that way, wouldn’t it?

    It might be possible to describe hierarchical structures such as corporations in those terms under certain conditions, but the European Union is not like that at all.

    Reply I am talking about the stated and likely negotiating position of the EU team

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Thank you John.

      Their position can be almost completely predicted simply by reading the Treaties.

      The UK has previously repeatedly requested arrangements which would break them, and equally predictably been told “no”.

      The negotiating team are answerable to twenty-seven sovereign nations, with sometimes competing aims. So they have very little scope for improvisation. So it is unrealistic for you or for anyone else to raise the possibility of some major breakthrough stemming from a concession on the other side, I think.

      The revisions will be from this side, but can be buried under all the coronavirus news, perhaps.

    • Fred H
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Drop your weasel words. The EU has discussed amongst the 27 how to describe what UK can expect to get out of leaving – this lead to a (Barnier et al). ‘He’ is tasked to carry it out or refer back for guidance when we don’t comply. ‘They’ ‘Them’ ‘the EU’ simply describe the authority established in order to ensure UK is suitably punished, dissent is spread within, and government is placed insecurely enabling EU to exert control.
      UK really being prepared to walk away is the only way to secure a worthwhile agreement between us, or has been said ‘ we will shoot each other’. A rather stupid result.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        The problem that you have is that the Leave vote failed, in what seems to me to have been its prime objective.

        That was, to destroy the European Union, as many hoped and believed that it would.

        It failed utterly, and now this country has to deal with a rather reinvigorated European Union.

        It may turn out to have been a disastrous miscalculation.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          You are now making up new falsehood against leave voters.
          Not content with all the other fictions..
          Is there no end to your made up nonsense about why people voted leave?

    • Shirley M
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      Since when did the 450m people get a say? Like us, they vote for manifesto promises. Promises that may be ignored once elected.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        When electing their MEPs.

        There’s also the Citizens Initiative, where people can propose laws directly.

        I suspect that you have never heard of that?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          Throwing a sop to the peasants.
          A poor substitute for the lack of de6in the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            Lack of democracy, in the EU

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

            It’s more than there is in the UK.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            Which one of these do you vote for
            EU Presidents
            EU Commissioners
            EU Council Members
            Oh just the MEPs and they are deliberately elected on an odd PR system so the groupings after the election means your MEP will have to alter from his pre election manifesto.
            Not that it makes much difference because MEPs have litylecpower.
            That resides with the ones you dont get to vote for.
            Citizens Initiative, sounds just like something 1950s USSR would come up with.

  22. Lifelogic
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Please can you ask the government how they are proposing to cope with perhaps as many as 200,000 (10%) of coronavirus patients needing intensive care and artificial ventilation at any one time? This to ensure that as many survive as possible. This needed in just a few weeks time perhaps and while protecting the staff from any infection?

    Can they please abandon HS2, COP26, all the climate alarmist expensive energy lunacy and talk of bridges or tunnels to Northern Ireland and put all this capacity in place instead please.
    It will take rather more than washing hands while singing!

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      active numer of voronavirus in UK is 144

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        That is only of those they have located and tested, probably just a low percentage of those infected. Plus it is roughly doubling everyday, so probably well over 144,000 in ten days time.

    • hefner
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      According to John Hopkins CSSE, there were 164 cases in the UK on 07/03 at 15:06.
      So nothing like the geometric progression with a common ratio of 2 like ‘advertised’ some days ago by our scientist-in-residence on this blog.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        good post and unlike the BBC or Sky that are only quoting the headline number without removing the one’s that have recovered……The true number is the ACTIVE case number

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        I would suggest you watch that space @hef.

        We should not panic but we should also not be complacent.

        Even if the symptoms are only that of flu – I do not want it to visit me or mine and would not wish it on anyone. Flu is very unpleasant.

  23. Peter
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    All good so far.

    Providing Boris holds firm.

    The worry is that he will cave in. Lots of theatrics then a magic new deal that concedes a lot but gets praise in the media.

    I hope this is wrong but it is still a worry until we actually see what happens

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Indeed that is my worry.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        And why did we agree the leaving deal paying £Billions before we had agreed the trade deal. What did we get for these billions?

        • glen cullen
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          ….and agreed to pay without an invoice ?

    • BOF
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      ‘Providing Boris holds firm.’

      From what we have seen so far Peter, rather than strong leadership, we have a PM who makes a habit of bottling it! Certainly on every other issue, IMO.

  24. Robert Mcdonald
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Of course, the eu will demand a “level playing” field, provided the field levels their way. Please to read our team is standing up for us at last, hope it continues.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      The EU demands to control the UK’s ability to compete after leaving is clearly totally unacceptable. Why on earth did we much about for three years under the dire May and then agree to pay £billions in advance of any sensible trade agreement? I assume the EU will spend these £billions to try to rip the UK off even further. Rather like giving the £billions to a country you are about to go into a battle with. Not a good strategy.

  25. margaret howard
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink


    “Our defence arrangements should be under our control”

    I take it you mean that of the USA. In other words more Iraq style wars which killed hundreds of thousands of people and have led to the destabilisation of the Middle East?

    • Bābilim
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      “…led to the destabilisation of the Middle East”
      I feel I understand your view. I cannot recall a time the Middle East being stable.
      I lost my plastic borrowing library card to the Library of Alexandria and I only speak English anyway. I may never know.

    • rose
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      The French Presidents aren’t anything to do with America. They always take a great deal of trouble not to be. Yet they have played their full part in going to war in the Middle East and taking us with them. In Africa too. Our armed forces should be under our control and our command.

    • piglet
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I take Sir John to mean what he says. Why express your opinion in such a condescending and arrogant way?

    • oldwulf
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Margaret – I think you might be confusing Mr Johnson with Mr Blair ?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink


      It’s interesting that the usual commenters suggest that the Iraq wars were somehow precipitated and led by Tony Blair.

      It was an error on his part that ended up with this country being dragged along too willingly by the US, arguably, but I think that you describe the position more correctly.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Totally the decision of our Government led by Blair.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

          Oh, so he led the US forces, did he?

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            Silly comment Martin.
            It was Blair’s decision to take the UK into the Iraq war.
            He didn’t have to.
            It was his choice.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Give it a rest Margaret. Better the USA than the ESE.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      No Margaret. Sir John did not mean that, as well you know.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        “. Better the USA than the ESE.”

        I doubt the people whose lives were ruined or whose family members were killed would agree with your distinction.

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          That’s a poor response.
          Blair got us into the Iraq war.
          Not the USA.
          In every war very brave men and women sometimes give their lives for the cause.
          It isn’t a subject to make cheap political points about.

          • margaret howard
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink


            “Blair got us into the Iraq war.”

            He got the overwhelming backing of the House of Commons when 412 MPs out of 659 voted in favour of war. In other words the enthusiastic backing of the whole country.

            What is so sickening is that after causing such utter misery in the region and leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, many of these MPs are still in office no doubt securing a comfortable retirement in the Lords when their careers are over. Where in the REAL word would that be possible?

            As you said further down as regards WW2:

            ‘We will never forget’ :

            No doubt neither will they.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

            Indeed, you make my point for me.
            Blair decided to take us to war in Iraq.
            He didn’t have to.
            It was his choice.
            Presumably you don’t have similar misgivings about our involvement in Kuwait and Kosovo.

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      It seems that President Trump has just foreign policies you should be supporting.
      Peace deals with North Korea and the Taliban.
      Removing troops from the Middle East.
      And he wants European nations to have more control over NATO.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I do not think that is his position at all. Under our control but clearly with cooperation with other nations – where it is sensible so to do.

    • LinJ
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Rather than under the control of Germany, I think.
      Rather than German-style wars, which caused the deaths of millions, you mean? Or is that too far away in time for you to think it carries much import, Ms Howard?

      • bill brown
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


        Please, kindly give it a rest

        • Edward2
          Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          We will never forget.

          • bill brown
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:08 am | Permalink

            Edward 2

            We never should but that does not mean it is like that Germany will become a military power to run European defence in the next two generations and had family members killed in the resistance as well so no we do not forget but we do not keep reminding either

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

            Bill – the condescending liberals still claim that the UK has imperial ambitions and ethos.

            If the UK has not changed in their eyes, why do they feel that the French, the Spanish and the Germans have changed their underlying outlook?

            Treat all the same – isn’t that what they (you) preach? So all those nations are capable of change, or they are not.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            Who is the largest economy in the EU group of nations?
            Who will predominately fund the forthcoming military force?
            Who will therefore effectively be in charge of it?
            Bear in mind it is only a short while ago you were castigating me and anyone else on here for daring to suggest the EU would have it’s own armed forces soon.

        • LinJ
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

          ”We do not keep reminding either…”
          Well, perhaps you should then.

          • bill brown
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            Lin j

            What a load of nonsense

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            You seem very sensitive about these things bill.
            Forget your history and you cannot start to understand what might happen in the future.

  26. George Brooks
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Our approach is absolutely right Sir John and so are you.

    We should have multiple workshops all negotiating at the same time as we really only have until the end of June. If we haven’t made any worthwhile progress by then, there is little point in talking any more and wasting time and money, as we will need that time to facilitate a smooth exit on December 31. (queue:- a barrage of rubbish from ‘project fear’ supporters)

    The EU needs to sort this agreement out as much as we do, in fact more so, if they don’t want to be left behind. The silence from the BBC is deafening. Not a word from Brussels, only a stupid request reported from Ed Davy asking the government to delay the talks and extend the transition period because of the virus.

    We have a ”manager” leading the government now, something we haven’t had for several years. A person who can and does ‘multi-task’ and does not put himself out front and centre but concentrates on selecting the right people with the right qualifications and knowledge for the task in hand. He is right to do this from the centre and not from a trench on the front line of a current crisis.

    We must stick to our plan then will exit the EU in good order, which is what we want.

  27. Stan
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Why do you say we want a FTA with them, we did not vote for a FTA we just voted to leave

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      agree……WTO first and maybe an FTA later (negotiations under a level playing field)

      • Norm
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:31 am | Permalink

        No no! We did not vote for WTO or FTA we just voted to leave the EU, to be by ourselves. We can be self sufficient with potatoes vegetables and fish and we do not want anything more at all to do with ousiders- the way I see it

    • Andy
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      You voted to Leave with a deal. That is what the Brexiteers promised in 2016. They also said the deal we’d leave with would be better than EU membership. They lied.

      • glen cullen
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        the ballot paper didn’t say that

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          People are entitled legally and morally to do anything lawful that they have not formally promised not to do, Glen.

          The ballot paper made no such promise, so that’s that.

          The world works like that, not on your crazy upside-down basis.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        never mind you will keep complaining.

  28. Lifelogic
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I see that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) calls for removing the VAT tax (currently 20%) on electric cars and plug-in hybrids. This as (very sensibly) so few people are buying them. But the reason so few are buying them is that given current technology (the all electric ones anyway) make so little sense. Furthermore they do not even save any CO2 output (after all the energy that going into manufacturing them and has to be generated to charge them).

    They might only use only 2p of electricity per mile but the battery and car might well depreciate by about £1 per mile. So why is the government pushing this premature technology onto us with various tax and other bribes? The only advantage is moving pollution out of cities, but the plug in hybrid does this.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      and please be aware that the SMMT are a political lobby group for multi-national car manufacturers and doesn’t represent in the main the vast number of british tier 1 and tier 2 manufacturers

  29. oldwulf
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    For too long the EU has been allowed to overplay its hand and will not want to be seen to be backing down. “Negotiations” are probably going to be a waste of time (and money). The UK should leave now.

    • Andy
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      You left in January. It is not the EU’s fault that Brexiteers have been too clueless to work out what comes next. It’s almost as though none of you realised that there has to be a next.

      • oldwulf
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Andy – When I said “leave” I should have said “walk away”.

        Thank you for pointing this out.

      • Fred H
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        You left? – are you not part of the UK?
        We left although a lot of us are right, you left have also left. Right!

      • BrianW
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink

        Andy, No there does not have to be a next, some of us just want to go back to just being ourselves, by ourselves. We can change our eating habits and eat all of that fish we won’t be able to sell on the continent anymore washed down with home made warm beer- take our holidays in Blackpool and the Isle of Man with trousered legs rolled up and four cornered hankies on the head to protect from the sun and the rain..ah yes back to the old days..with bucket and spade building sandcastles

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Allowed? By whom?

      Who controls the European Union?

      You don’t seriously think that this country does, do you?

  30. formula57
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Given “The EU still seems to think the UK is the weak party…” perhaps it may still be receiving poor advice about Britain from the likes of Blair, Benn, Letwin, Grieve, Major, Heseltine et al?

    As has been said in other circumstances but applicable to the Evil Empire, “Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything”.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      and don’t forget receiving poor advice about Britain from the Lords

    • Andy
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      It only has to watch the telly to see what an incoherent shower the Brexiteers are.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        Have you seen the Labour and Lib Dems?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

          I don’t think that anyone from the opposition parties has admitted in full view that they did not understand the importance of Dover for trade, or contracted shipping services from a company with no ships, etc., etc.

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

            Switching the argument to Dover….where the Government has spent millions on ensuring vehicles can move smoothly or if the French play up switch quickly to many of the other ports of entry.
            And then to aircraft carriers where the civil servants in the Ministry of Defence showed their typical woeful planning.
            But dont worry the Conservatives have got the problem sorted.

  31. acorn
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    So what happens to the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol bit of the Withdrawal Agreement? Are you intending to welch on that agreement?

    You can forget a US Trade Agreement if the US Congress smells a possibility of any kind of border appearing between NI and the Republic. Particularly if it lessens the chances of a re-united Ireland!

    • Carlo
      Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      It is striking how JR avoids commenting on ,how the Ulstermen have been sold diwn the river by Boris’s deal. Is he ashamed he voted for it?

      Reply The government has promised us no border between GB and NI and I will be pressing them to keep the promise. We discussed this on Friday and I will be writing about it soon.

  32. Atlas
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Indeed so Sir J.

    However the BBC are still acting as a 5th column promoting the EU’s interests. I have come to resent paying for the BBC now, with its relentless left-wing, ‘woke’, bias. The sooner it is a subscription service the better.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      I agree, it is clearly unfair competition though I would happily pay more than that for what I use voluntarily. Or rather I would happily if it were not for the BBC’s appalling and wrong propaganda on Climate Alarmism, Big Government, Woke and PC lunacy and identities politic and its endless left wing nonsense in general.

  33. graham1946
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    re Fishing

    I doubt we now have the capacity to fish our waters to any great extent, having had the fisheries sold out under us and being more or less out of the game for so long. I also doubt that our youngsters would see fishing as an attractive career option and would any trawler owners want to take on the great cost of renewing the fleet, even if the banks were willing to provide funds at less than their usual usurious rates? We might under international law even be required to recompense some of the foreign fishers to whom licences were sold.

    Surely the best thing would be to lease out some fishing grounds for profit, on our terms and under quotas we specify to protect the environment and fish stocks to the EU countries or any other interested parties. Electric fishing and hoovering up the sea bed would have to be banned in favour of traditional methods. If the EU don’t want that, then let our fleet catch what the British want to eat and leave the rest alone. We don’t get any advantage from ‘exporting’ i.e. foreign vessels taking our fish direct to the Continent.

    • rose
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 12:40 am | Permalink

      If we decide to do any of this, now is not the time. What we decide to do with our fisheries should not be part of the negotiations for an FTA with the EU. We should make the arrangements, if that is what we wish to do, when we are completely free.

      I think a determined effort should be made to get our young people back into fishing. It may indeed appear daunting to people who live indoors but if they tried it they might find it rewarding and enjoyable, as they do the armed services.

  34. bill brown
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Sir JR

    I am not aware the EU is pursuing a federal agenda, they have enough issues to deal with like western Balkans, Russia and Syria as oppose to more integration.

    The point of the negotiations with the weak and strong negotiation partner, I am aware the Hanseatic group is very interested in reaching a good agreement with the UK and do not look at strong and weak negotiations partners in this project.

    I had understood that Boris had a solution to the GB and Northern Ireland issue that is currently being negotiated on.

    So, it comes back to the old rhetoric that you keep bringing up, move on Sir JR and let us make the best agreement with our friends and allies in NATO , OECD, European Council, and our closets neighbours whom we work with every day.

    Reply Do try reading the EU documents and Macron’s speeches.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      EU federal agenda = Lisbon treaty

    • bill brown
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Sir JR

      I have most of it is political game theory from both sides

    • Edward2
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Can I refer you, yet again, to the strategy outlined in the Five Presidents Report.
      Have you not read it or if you have , do you not believe it or are you deliberately trying to deny what it says the EU has an expansionist federal agenda.
      I’m not bothered by that but are you?

      • bill brown
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 3:05 am | Permalink


        Very useful observation, thank you very much but I think the five presidents report is now totally obsolete

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Oh is there a new one that has replaced it?
          Because if there isn’t, the Five Presidents Report is still the current policy strategy document.

          • bill brown
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


            Old news

          • Edward2
            Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            It might be old but it is still the current strategy document.

            Why are you so reluctant to be open about the ambitions of the EU?
            It doesn’t bother me.
            I just find it odd how most EU fans like yourself want to keep these matters hidden.

      • margaret howard
        Posted March 8, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink


        ” deny what it says the EU has an expansionist federal agenda.”

        You mean along the lines of the British Empire?

        • Edward2
          Posted March 8, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          Still living in the past I see Margaret.

          Do you still refuse to see the EU has expanded from 5 to 28 and has future ambitions for more member nations under its control very soon?

  35. William Long
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    So far so good, and I should have thpought that this is one issue on which Boris just cannot afford to backslide, or be seen or thought to backslide so there must be a chance that we will really leave the EU and not just in name only. I do not think he can ‘wash his hands’ of this issue.

  36. ukretired123
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Excellent leadership as usual by Sir John!
    I have to don my hat to you for your tireless life-long efforts standing up for what you believed to be right for the country despite the critics!
    Marvellous that we have an MP with backbone and belief.
    It is just a pity you had to organise the event to get folks priorities focussed on the basics which they have forgotten about.
    Keep it going please and many, many thanks indeed.

    • glen cullen
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink


  37. BJC
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help thinking that these negotiations are really about how best to save the EU from its lumbering self and prevent a global collapse. However, at no point have they conceded anything of note (if at all) or considered the benefits of changing their economic model to the flexible needs of a modern world., i.e. they’ve gone to ground. There’s certainly no imperative on our part to give them anything to supports the gross mismanagement that permeates throughout the EU…..and the basis of their self-inflicted wounds.

    The EU clings to its web of treaties like a dying man to a raft, but as an independent, sovereign nation our baseline has to be the “oven-ready” and neutral, WTO. The sooner the EU understands this salient point and is prepared to offer us something considerably more attractive, the sooner we can work towards a reasonable deal that can benefit both sides.

  38. John Probert
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    If good progress is not made by June we walk out the door

    The PM stance is correct

  39. Lester Beedell
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    If Boris Johnson abandoned the Green Policy then he would be perfect
    I fear that it’s Carrie Symonds behind that!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Well a bit more than that would be needed. He would also have to cancel HS2, Huawei, halve taxes and halve the size government. This and make sure we have sufficient ICU beds and ventilators for this immediate crisis. Perhaps as many as 200,000.

      Still he did very well indeed to save us the absolutely appalling vision of Corbyn, Mc Donnall, Abbot, Long-Bailey, Lammy gang. This after May seemed to be trying her best to get them into power.

  40. glen cullen
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Why are they even discussing ‘social security’ matters (on agenda Thursday afternoon)….it’s a trade deal

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Agreed 100%. There are only two things that I am worried about:
    (1) How much damage can the EU do to our financial companies?
    (2) What will our naval expenditure need to be to enforce our fishing rights?

  42. Lester Beedell
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Breitbart News today
    Net Zero will destroy the Tories as Brexit destroyed Cameron
    And none of them, Gove, Cummings understand that
    Nicholas Ridley, the most scientifically literate understands perfectly!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Gove (English Oxon) understand no logic or science he prefers to be guided by St Greta or David Attenborough types. He also inflicted Teresa May onto the nation.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 7, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean Matt Ridley?

  43. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    What was the audience for the conference Sir John, how was it made up and how many delegates were there?

  44. steve
    Posted March 7, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Sir John

    I hope…. really I hope that your views reflect those of government.

  45. Matt
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    What’s the truth that senior Americans are now using the phrase Four Eyes Partnership rather than Five Eyes Partnership over the damaging Huawei issue ?

  46. John Partington
    Posted March 8, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree with what you say,Sir John. BRINO is firmly off the table,I hope.

  47. rose
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, this is the time to rectify the wrong done to Northern Ireland – and to all of us in threatening the Union.

  • 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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