Freer trade outside the EU

Yesterday the government issued an excellent document setting out the basis on which we will trade from 1 January 2021 as an independent state and member of the WTO. We will set out own common tariff for the rest of the world which will apply unless we have a Free Trade Agreement with the counter party.

Our tariff is lower, simpler and easier than the EU one we currently have to offer to non EU countries. It takes tariffs off items we cannot grow or produce for ourselves.  It takes tariffs down to zero for products manufacturers in the UK need to help them make things here. So cotton, and   various engineered tools drop to zero for example.

It takes all tariffs that are under 2% to zero to save all the admin. It takes fiddly tariffs down to the nearest whole number. It takes tariffs off energy saving, recycling and renewables. The tariff on thermostats for  example disappears.

The Secretary of State for Trade confirms two crucial matters. Firstly, she makes it clear this will apply from 1 January 2021, so there are no plans for any delays to our full exit. Secondly, she confirms there will be no tariffs between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The EU will not be allowed to wrestle Northern Ireland into their customs union and out of our common customs system.

Many of us  MPs wanting to implement the referendum  have been pressing for just such an outcome for many  months.

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  1. formula57
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Good news indeed! (Long overdue: what was Liam Fox doing?)

    Thank you for your unstinting efforts to encourage the Government.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      What will happen about the in-practice blockade, at Calais, and at the rest of the Continental ports?

      Operation Stack was a hoot, wasn’t it?

      And that was just for a few days at Calais, not for months on end at all ports.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Who wants a blockade?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          You do, if you have considered the inevitable consequences of your demands.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

            No I want global free trade.
            With a minimum of tariffs for all.
            Free trade makes poorer nations wealthier.
            The EU is slowly becoming a protectionist bloc.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        actually a blockade would stop imports to UK, so it would help enormously……great idea Martin.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

          It’s our exports that would be delayed, as before.

          As a country the UK could wave in whatever it wanted.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

            Or behave just like the EU.

    • NickC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Formula57, No it isn’t good news. From what I’ve seen of the tariffs, it is a copy and paste job from the EU tariff schedule. That schedule may suit “Fortress EU” – eg: protection of Italy’s rice industry – but what suits the EU doesn’t necessarily suit us.

      Essentially the civil service has been bone idle, instead of thinking through the implications for us. Having taken orders from the EU for 47 years, the civil service has lost the ability to actually work, including failing to consult our industries.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:33 am | Permalink


        I very much agree. I asked our kind host where I could see the tariff schedule. For my pains I was stuck in moderation. Your analysis proves my suspicion.

      • acorn
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        “… including failing to consult our industries.”

        Alas, empty vessels make the most noise, particularly on this site.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Indeed but we need more we we need the ability to compete with cheap energy, a bonfire and red tape and a much slimmed down state.

    Lord Hall today in the Telegraph:- The young are beginning to see the true value of the BBC and good journalism.

    Dream on mate. They have almost zero interest in the BBC and there is almost no good journalism at the BBC at all. It is a left wing, pro EU, climate alarmist, anti-Trump propaganda outfit. And one that is funded unfairly and is virtually unaccountable. Very boring too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      Also one where almost no one employed there seems to understands real economics, science or competitive business.

      • acorn
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

        LL, as this sites resident expert on fiat currency macroeconomics, perhaps you could explain to regular economic semi-moron commenters on this site, what exactly is going on.

        Why would anybody buy a government Bond that paid a negative interest rate of 0.003%, as sold by the Treasury DMO today?

        • graham1946
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          ‘semi-moron commenters’ – Your words. You don’t seem to know the basics

    • Andy
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Which red tape are you going to burn?

      Will the 50,000 extra customs pen pushers you need for Brexit help you burn it?

      Or with they start with the 400 million extra forms needed to import and export?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        You are virging on middle age andy.
        No one pushes pens any more.
        More than twenty years ago we had computerised forms.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        400 million forms? Have you got shares in printing companies – seems like you Remoaners ought to have.

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Evidence?

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I can’t remember the BBC saying anything about China imposing tariffs on Australia for having the temerity to ask for an inquiry into CV-19.

      All the BBC does is bash Trump and Boris (which I don’t mind) but why does China get away with it ?

    • NickC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Essentially that means people who can do a job should be allowed to get on with it by the government. Instead of the government forever trying to pick winners. Rather than trying to copy Churchill, Boris should copy Adenauer.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      As an example today we got more unscientific claptrap and blatant propaganda:-

      Climate change: Top 10 tips to reduce carbon footprint revealed By Roger Harrabin (Camb. English) the BBC environment analyst reporting on some misleading stuff from the Sustainability Research Institute at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.

      I assume this is a new department of divinity. Physics and logic seems to be beyond them.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. The BBC must sink or swim without the licence.

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink


    Have you seen these new figures?

    The question has to be why are, for example, Type 1 diabetic, BAME, over 40’s not “shielded” according to the governments shielding protocol? Why are they still expected to work? Why will they be expected to take their reception age children to school in the next few days? Really these basic questions need to be pressed with the government!

    I also wonder if these figures expose how poor the NHS is at insulin contol of patients in, for example, intensive care? Given the constant blood sugar testing and adjustment of insulin pump or injections needed normally is there really the NHS manpower to do this constantly for diabetic patients on the wards when patients cannot do it themselves?

    Please ask these questions?


  4. Mark B
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    And many of is have waited for many years for this and other benefits from Leaving the EU.

    Where can one read the UK’s new tariff schedule ? I ask as there are one or two good stuffs that we cannot grow here and membership of the EU makes importing them more expensive.

    The real winners from all this will be non-EU countries. Well at least I hope so. I hope the UK can import cheaper items produced elsewhere so helping those poorer less developed countries and their people. Fair trade and access to good jobs and wealth are a direct out of poverty. Not taxing those that have only to waste it.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I read that Professor Brian Cox says – trust in science could be eroded if misused by politicians. Scientists are concerned they will be blamed for government decisions after ministers have said they are “following the science”.

    No what destroys trust in science Brian is when so many so called “scientists” suffer from duff, deluded, unquestioning, group think science in BBC mode. Thinking they can predict the climate in 100 years without even knowing all or even most of the inputs (because they have a powerful computer and some modelling software). But then belief in CLIMATE Armageddon and a climate extinction event seem to be compulsory at the BBC.

    Cox seems a rather confused physicist to me. Always (quite rightly) praising and quoting Richard Feynman when his views and approach seems to be almost the complete opposite of Feynman‘s.

    How did he even get into Manchester University with such a duff A levels one wonders and then get a first it seems?

  6. Nigl
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Excellent. That provides the certainty that the clearly uncertain Labour Party is demanding.

    Their clock is ticking. Flip flop, flip flop.

    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Trade is vital but then any cogent, sane person would countenance such a view but of far more importance is the return of the UK’s sovereign rights, the reassertion of the UK’s constitutional independence and the full removal of all laws and precedences that have been imposed since 1974 from the Statute book

    We also need new and prohibitive laws to prevent further incursions from pro-EU bodies, politicians and UK-hating public servants who seek to continually bind the UK into the EU legislative web. This Gramsci inspired strategy has been part of the seditious process for decades and accelerated when filth Labour came to power

    As an aside. Stop protecting Labour, their current and past leaders-PMs, their MPs and their public sector from harm. Patel spoke yesterday about the ‘stain on this nation’s conscience’. Lift the lid. Lift the carpet. Let’s see what Labour is hiding and trying to conceal. Let’s see that army of skeletons in the closet. We know Labour knew

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Our problem is no longer the EU, we need to watch out for World Government institutions. Follow the Donald!

  8. Peter
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    This document peterdoes not seem to have been well publicised so far.

  9. Lifelogic
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    The recent David Starkey interview with Peter Whittle ‘so what you are saying’ is very good. Let us hope he is wrong about post illness Boris (half broken with sentimental, greenish wife). I still think Boris can get real, get people back to work, ignore his greenish partner and ditch HS2 and all the green crap. But then perhaps I am dreaming.

    • DennisA
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      I share your dream….

    • Stred
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      He got in enough trouble when he spilled red wine on her settee. I know the feeling.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        It was probably the wrong moment for him to say ‘Why on earth didn’t you buy a claret-coloured settee?’ 🙂

  10. MPC
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you for all of your hard work in helping achieve this. Now we need a concerted effort by the government to get the country back to work. There’s little evidence of that judging by the televised media’s continuing emphasis on public sector concerns and selection of interviewees, largely to the exclusion of commercial representatives.

    • Adam
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink


      In echo of your first sentence, recognition of SJR being a stalwart proponent spanning many years.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        +1 – decades!

    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Rolls Royce cuts its workforce by 9k and slashes costs by £1bn. When will the UK’s bottomless pit of a unionized, leftist public sector start this most important process to alleviate the increasing burden on the private sector or is this process just too much of a bind for this One-Nation Tory PM?

    • ukretired123
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Strange how you never hear the Civil Service cutting the workforce by 10,000 in unison with the Private Sector upon which they depend….

      It’s high time for some fundamental changes in UK bureaucracy too.
      This CV19 is a watershed moment for everyone regardless of everything else.

      • jerry
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        @ukretired123; “This CV19 is a watershed moment for everyone regardless of everything else.”

        Yes, well at least in the last 40 years or so, we are likely going to need the ‘State’ more than ever, just as we did in the post WW2 era, be it a Labour or conservative govt – unless we truly descend into a society were the survival of the fittest is all that matters of course.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Like every public servant who gets paid above the national average salary should take a 50% pay cut……we’re all in it together

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        It always amazes me that the MOD have more civil servants now than at the height of WW2

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        The state sector hardly ever fire anyone or make them redundant however useless. Even when they do they are usualy paid off so they go quietly.

        Look at all the duff teachers who go on blighting childrens education for years. You cannot even retire them now. Doubless we have the same at the NHS with even worse results.

    • jerry
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      @Dominic; What a silly rant, more so than your average daily rants, what has the global downturn in the civil airline industry got to do with trade unionism, never mind the “leftist public sector”?!…

      But on this latest news, whilst i see no reason why the govt should be supporting the commercial airlines I see every reason why RR (jet engines) needs to be given every support necessary, their products are not just for the civil aviation industry.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        “their products are not just for the civil aviation industry” indeed but they mainly are and there is going to be a huge surplus of capacity and a down turn of activity in this area for quite some time.

        Cut all the subsidies for renewables and get them to build some sensible cheap and on demand natural gas generating capacity.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps they could get into fracking for the gas too. Cancel the absurdly expensive Hinkley C that Theresa May idiotically went ahead with.

        • anon
          Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps they can be used to ventilate the underground via air shafts. They can be powered by the grid and be modulated up and down to smooth the grid.

    • Abendrot
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Quite; it’s one of the few jewels in the crown that are left from the destruction wrought by useless managers, left-wing trades’ unions and feckless politicians over the years. No doubt the PM will see this as a great opportunity to bounce back, ably supported by Grant Shapps who seems to be bent on ensuring the closure of more of our aerospace industry. Given the dreadful media we have in the UK, led by such boorish, ignorant, loudmouths as Piers Morgan, I do sympathise with the political class, but they have to have courage and reach out to the country over the heads of those whose screeching from the sidelines threatens our very existence and all that we have worked for over the years.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Sadly aviation is buggered.

      It will never be the same size as it was.

    • NickC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Dominic, You are right. The government should stop wagging its finger at us, and instead put its own house in order. Government needs to continually ask itself “should the government be doing this?” and indeed “should this be done at all?”.

      Let us have no more fake redundancies when a government employee is rehired as a contractor the following Monday to artificially reduce the headcount. We should look at New Zealand for example, to make government departments shrink drastically – because they’re doing less.

    • Fishknife
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      A good opportunity to ask RR to make some small modular reactors?

  12. Dave Andrews
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Can you confirm John that even with the lowering of tariffs, the UK treasury will be better off through keeping the tariffs rather than paying nearly all of it to Brussels?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      As I understand tariffs collect about €3.5billion and we pay Brussels £11.5billion equivalent to a 7% tariff on our exports .
      Belonging to the EU is not an FTA by any means.

  13. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Sir John there is Free Trade and there is open and Fair Trade.

    Letting countries that use taxpayer subsidy for their exports a free run is close on lunacy. All it does is undermine any chance of the UK becoming self reliant.

    All taxes and duties should be on a reciprocal basis. By that I don’t mean the EU cherry picking version. If a Country hands massive taxpayer subsidies to their agriculture – sure we can get cheap food in the UK from it. But as that undermines our own industry making it un-competitive it leaves the UK exposed to the whims of foreign powers.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      You talking about the steel industry perchance

    • NickC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Ian, Indeed. Both China and Germany artificially benefit from mercantilism, where their currency is set too low. China’s because of the totalitarian control of the Chinese economy by the communists (ie: Trump is correct), and Germany because they are an advanced productive economy benefiting from a very average currency, the Euro.

  14. Stredl
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    How will tariffs in NI differ from the rest of the UK bearing in mind the agreement that EU standards will still apply? Will NI be able to import goods from the mainland UK in order to avoid EU tariffs or standards?

  15. oldtimer
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    This looks a sensible series of measures to simplify the tariff regime. The government needs to apply the same principles of common sense and simplification to its other tax and regulatory regimes. Post C-19, like Humpty Dumpty, it will not be possible to put the economy as we knew it back together again. Too many businesses will have gone bust. It’s participants will need as few state inspired impediments as can be devised for a new, more efficient economy to emerge.

  16. Tabulazero
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Under the best case scenario, the UK will have to hire an army of 50,000 form fillers by year end in exchange for cutting tariffs on spanners from 1.7% to 0.0%. Brillant !

    • Nigl
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Rip Van Winkle you seem to have missed the news that programmable computers have been invented.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        By the English!

        • jerry
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          Lynn, I think you mean modern computing was a British invention, Alan Turing’s father was of Scottish decent and his mother half Irish!

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Seems to me reminiscent of budgets of years gone by when various governments put a penny on cigs and beer.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Only needed if the eu decides to start a trade war

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      If the tariff is 0% it does not exist so you don’t need a form. I worked inaircreighyfor a while. Importing and exporting to and from non EU countries was simple enough back in the 1980s and 1990s. I am sure technology will have been used to make it even simpler. Keep calm and carry on. It will all be fine.

    • agricola
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Your crystal ball has a touch of the pox.

    • jerry
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      @Tabulazero; Nonsense, import/export paperwork has to be completed regardless of being a member of the EU, did you not notice the (current) “CET” tariffs in the govt. published CVS file?

      “cutting tariffs on spanners from 1.7% to 0.0% Brillant !”

      Indeed is is! For those in the many and varied engineering sectors, like myself, having 1.7% more to spend elsewhere when it comes to buying new and replacement tools (nor is it just spanners).

    • IanT
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I think we use things called “computers” to help with this stuff these days…

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Calculation of 50,000 form fillers being, why? And how estimated?

      • Tabulazero
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        By Michael Gove himself.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          😂😂must be right then!

    • Andy
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      These 50,000 Brexit pen pushers are needed whether or not we do a trade deal with the EU.

      And these are just the bureaucrats we pay for directly through our taxes. Companies will need extra pen pushers to fill in all the extra forms Brexit requires.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Pen pushers…hilarious.
        Have you ever actually exported or imported?

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Our exports to the EU are only a small fraction of UK GDP (c12.4%). So for nearly 88% of UK GDP we will save on not having to conform to EU bureaucracy.

    • anon
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      Myopic EU view shown by your own, i guess thats how the EU do it then 50,000 forms costing a lot versus what they raise.

  17. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    What these proposals don’t tackle, in part they think it is someone else remit. Is a lot of the UK’s manufacturers now base their operations in less hostile domains, because the rules, regulations and taxes in the UK penalize success.

    That then becomes another nail in the coffin of UK manufacturing. It ensures Government is not achieving its purpose of securing the wealth, health of its people.

    Until Government tackles the now bizarre underlining structures of the UK’s command and control, they are just advocating decline.

    There has neve been a better time to get a grip, throw everything out and start over. If Government hasn’t seen it yet that is what the rest of the competitive world has set out to do. Dog eat dog, some suprizing winners and all the usual failures who have dogmatically lived in the past.

  18. Iain Gill
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I see BBC Radio 1 has trainee jobs advertised for “non white people only”

    Come on this is ridiculous.

    Open racism against white people.

    Why is this being allowed?

    • rose
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      It has been a BBC distinguishing feature for some time. They say they have some loophole but I forget what it is.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Their loophole is: ‘It’s only because of the unique way in which the BBC is funded that we really don’t care one jot for what the public thinks.’

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink


      • hefner
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        As reported in previous years with similar ‘noises’ on Breitbart 07/05/2016, Daily Mail 02/06/2016, Daily Express 28/11/2017 and Metro 19/01/2018, that is the annual trainee scheme for the BBC World Service.
        Available within careers
        And I guess IG has not read the actual trainee job offer, but guess he read it in his usual quality newspaper with the usual made up anger destined to its scrutinising readership.

        • NickC
          Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          So, after all your waffle, it is true?

          • hefner
            Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

            Can’t you check it yourself?

    • percy openshaw
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      It is entrenched across the public sector from the civil service down; it arises from a pernicious doctrine of collective guilt, leading to an equally pernicious doctrine of collective “compensation” – and completely ignores the history of all civilisations other than our own. See the excellent work on this subject by the sociologist, Eric Kaufman. I imagine that confronted with the realities and priorities of today, many MPs who are only too sadly aware of all that is wrong in this regard, feel wary and anxious about taking on the formidable interests vested in these destructive ideologies.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Do they ever advertise for ‘white people only’ ?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink


    • Andy
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I doubt any of you old people would want to work for Radio 1 anyway. But the good news is that you can always get a job as a fruit picker. Your government needs you to pick for Britain.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        I’ve sent your company the link.
        Come on Andy do your bit.

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You seem ideal as a fruit picker, “young”, fit(??), unable to get on with your workmates? Why don’t you do it? Too much like hard work for you?

        • bill brown
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          Nick C


    • Anonymous
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I don’t mind one bit.

      White lefties can’t get their kids into the BBC and that’s got to be a good thing.

    • Irene
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      You are joking, are you not? Without a link, you’re joking.

    • anon
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Advertising for a certain genetic attribute how can that not be considered not offensive and similar to hateful speech.

      Glad i don’t fund them or support them. I take every opportunity to engage them. So they cant spend it harrassing vulnerable people.

  19. agricola
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Sounds positive, the next one to deal with is VAT. What to exempt, what the general level should be, whether we should retain it or introduce some other form of sales/activity tax. Whatever we do should aim at encouraging an entrepreneurial society with a simplified regime of tax in all its forms to enrich GB Ltd and all who sail in her.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      I suspect that VAT will rise to pay for the lockdown.

      PAYE serfs will be unable to bridge the funding gap so State Pension and VAT will also be targetted.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I admire your optimism. Or naivety. Tory governments since 2010 have massively INCREASED the tax code. They have no desire to reduce complexity.

  20. Steven
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    A good move that would be even better if governments around the world had not entirely wrecked economies and almost halted international trade with their disastrous policies.

  21. Ian @Barkham
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    How does the encouragement of cheap shoddily produced basics square with the long term aim of a low energy future.

    The UK buying in goods, the production and delivery of those goods should be part of the sum f the UK’s CO2 production.

    The suggestions of trade are correct for the immediate short term, but work against the UK in the long term at so many different levels.

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Which is why Giles’ comment would be helpful.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      I have never understood why this wasn’t the case. Also that our welfare/social/crime costs should be included in any calculation on so called savings of outsourcing work or in-sourcing labour.

  22. GilesB
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Good start, if very late.

    Tariffs should not be set in stone: they should have a sunset clause so that over a five year cycle they are all reviewed in depth and revised as necessary given changes in demographics, technology, safety standards and experience of changes in import and export volumes.

    Perhaps a good role for a revitalised and appropriately resourced Board of Trade, with cross-party parliamentary representatives

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink


      I would have thought that all tariffs can be changed at any time, if either they are not working, or are producing the wrong results or problems.
      That is surely the whole point of being independent.
      We make out own rules.

      At last after years of talking, we are finally seeing some real forward proposals which certainly look encouraging and positive.

      • GilesB
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

        They can be changed.

        But to change them takes effort by the Government of the day. And any change leads to some winners, who will stay quiet, and some losers, who will moan. So it is far too easy for Government to do nothing and leave the status quo as it is.

        The purpose of a sunset clause is to force the Government of the day to make an explicit decision about the continuing appropriateness of the regulation. It’s a protection from our own laziness, not the intransigence of other parties.

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    That is good, as was David Frost’s open letter to the EU negotiators. Now time to completely overhaul UK’s VAT rates ?

    • Andy
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      David Frost’s amusing letter sums up Brexit – it is negotiation by tantrum.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        any which way that works!

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Didums. Poor Andy backing the wrong horse.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Only you throwing a tantrum Andy. I’m enjoying it, laughing is the best medicine and you make me laugh every day! (I know, I should not laugh at the afflicted, but there it is)

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        Andy, It certainly amused me.

    • glen cullen
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Abolish VAT altogether, just because a material, product, production or process exists, it doesn’t mean you have to tax it

  24. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Fingers crossed. We must be vigilant.

  25. Bryan Harris
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    A very good result…

  26. Rondo
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Of course there will be tariffsbetween NI and the rest of the UK. That is clear from the Protocol. All goods going from GB to NI have to pay tariffs – unless it is proved they are not at risk of being moved on to Ireland (very hard to prove) or not being processed in NI. I suspect you never read the Protocol

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Not so. Tariffs will be paid if they get exported to Ireland.

    • Andy
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. I saw Iain Duncan Smith on TV earlier saying he was disappointed that there would be checks between GB and NI.

      And yet this was literally what he voted for in the withdrawal agreement. I wonder if he read it?

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Andy, You just love seeing your nation turned into a colony, don’t you?

        • bill brown
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 12:54 pm | Permalink


          is this as part of this so-called empire you keep talking about?

    • gregory martin
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      The transfer of goods from any part of the UK &NI to any other part is no business of the EU. Any transfer between the UK&NI to another country is ,possibly ,within the remit of the EU if it is to a country that is within their jurisdiction.
      If we continue to permit traffic across our borders of goods in transit from parts of the EU to other parts of the EU, then it is their responsibility to satisfy themselves that the consigned is sealed TIR at start and finish of its journey. We may choose to add our own seal for internal security while in transit. Shipments requiring consolidation will need to be segregated at point of entry/egress as normal.

  27. Adam
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    The bases comprise a splendid way forward for us as a nation, enabling the values and enjoyment of our loug-outstanding regained freedom.

  28. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    This is truly wonderful news. I had lost all faith in the Boris administration, and bloody nearly the will to live.
    This gives us more than a fighting chance.
    I’m also delighted that the report on Grooming Gangs is to be published. The native British people deserve the defence of our Rule of Law.

    • Iago
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Lynn, I’ve just looked at the government website; it will be published “later this year” and first – ” The Home Office will set up an external reference group of experts to review the research before its publication.”

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        They started out refusing, we demanded, we will get the full report, and we will draw the required conclusions, then we will demand the correct action. We are the Sovereigns in our great democracy. Never take ‘no’ for an answer – surely Brexit has taught us that?
        PS We will also get the original c code used by Ferguson to manufacture his own dream future!

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Pity judges are still allowed to sit in sectet courts and stop the offenders or their employers being named.
      These courts are a travesty.

  29. rose
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    A great relief about Northern Ireland. Let us hope this spirit of national unity and independence continues throughout the proceedings.

    I noticed the Spanish Foreign Minister was acidly urging no more letters, no more emails, and accusing us of wanting to stay in the EU single Market! From which I concluded they are still after Gibraltar and the fish.

  30. Martin
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    So you think that a few % off of a dishwater or whatever is wonderful. Given the every declining value of the Pound that few % is easily eroded by devaluation.

    Add to that the army of paper work merchants to do extra customs forms and the whole thing is as predicted.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I’m quite open about why I voted Brexit. I voted for it because we had lost control of our borders – we have still not regained control of our borders.

      I understand fully that this was not the EU’s fault, nor the fault of migrants (of which I hold no animosity so long as they work and are law abiding.)

      It was all about the state rubbing my nose in it and continuing to rub my nose in it even after I said I didn’t like not having what New Zealand has – properly controlled borders and control over numbers.

      So I had a tantrum, as Andy correctly points out above.

      What did they expect would happen ? (I chose the ballot box and not rioting and disobedience – unlike many favoured groups in this country.)

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        All things in good time. We have to roll back 47 years without our own government. But Britain will be safe again, and the home of the British.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      Sterling bounced on this announcement Martin, don’t take it too hard.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Sterling bounced?

        1.11 euros today? Some bounce.

        • J Warrior
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          But Margaret, Sterling is the currency an independent Scotland would use. Are you saying you would would not want to because it is undervalued, or volatile? Perhaps you would use the Euro instead? Who would be your lender of last resort?

  31. Sea Warrior
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I have just written to the PM and asked him to task Liz Truss with offering Australia freer trade, with us, in response to China’s outrageous conduct. I don’t care if we grant Australia privileges that aren’t immediately reciprocated. Let’s get something in place the SECOND that this transition is over – and show that we haven’t forgotten how Australia answered our calls for assistance in two world wars.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • Pragmatist
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      No, let’s trade with China. Be smart. Think ten years and more ahead.

      • steve
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        How about the west closes China down.

    • dixie
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      excellent proposal

    • margaret howard
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior

      “and show that we haven’t forgotten how Australia answered our calls for assistance in two world wars”

      And look how we repaid them when we joined the EU!

      We dropped their imports of lamb and dairy overnight making many of their suppliers bankrupt. They had to turn to the East to survive.

      Why should they believe us now? And why should they ditch their new partners?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        They seem keen to rejoin a trading agreement once we leave.

      • steve
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink


        What a pompous attitude.

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Margaret H, Do you get anything right, or do you just love living in a cloud of ignorance? At least attack Brexit for something real, not made up. The NZ Lamb 0% TRQ is 228,254 tonnes (of which NZ usually uses less than 80%). The 0% TRQ for Australia is 19,186 tonnes. These were negotiated when the UK was betrayed into the EU (EEC) by the Remain establishment.

      • anon
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        That would have been a decision of the Heath & governments since who did not ask the people to sign up to anything other than a trade club post the event.

        Democracy has hardly existed. Populism or democracy is managed to suit the wants of the establishment and ignored for as long as possible when it conflicts.

        Its an historical fact. Thats why you dont get referenda, its undeniably democratic, except to EU fanatic, you see

      • anon
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        We are asking to join with them and others like minded in trade and other mutually beneficial ventures etc.
        I would expect countries to be mindful of politicians and structures in the British establishment that do not respect democratic values.

      • Pominoz
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:38 pm | Permalink


        See my response to Rondo below.

        You are absolutely correct about the shocking treatment of Australia, and also New Zealand, due to Heath’s inability to recognise that, at the time, the UK was an integral part of the very best trading club in the whole world.

    • Rondo
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior. Lovely thought. But you do know that Australia has said that its priority is a trade deal with the EU, don’t you? The UK is in its past, not its future. It isnt 1945 any more, and Brexit has made the UK much smaller

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Rondo: Australians are subjects of Her Majesty the Queen as are we. We are blood brothers, related, they are a Dominion, most of them call Britain ‘Home’. We are together in the present and the future as we were in the past. That goes for NZ and Canada too, and of course our greatest erstwhile colony the USA.
        What do you think of CANZUK?

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          Lynn Atkinson

          “and of course our greatest erstwhile colony the USA.”

          Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

          Pity we haven’t got any American commentators on here. They would surely fall about laughing at your ludicrous claim.

          Americans ‘Subjects of Her Majesty the Queen’?

          I thought you Brexiteers claimed we had lost our sovereignty to the EU trading bloc but it seems some of you are quite happy to be a ‘subject’ of the German House of Saxe Coburg Gotha.

        • Fred H
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          ‘most of them call Britain ‘Home’.

          Lynn have you been to Oz during the last few years?
          By examples take Melbourne or Sydney. I would offer that most of the inhabitants and workers are from some way north, or various countries in Europe.
          Home is rarely Britain.
          Perhaps you are thinking back to the days of 10m not 25m population?

          • margaret howard
            Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

            Fred H

            And I would suggest that most Americans would have trouble finding Europe on a map, let alone England.

            Though I do remember reading in the European newspaper some time ago that a survey among Americans suggested that 25% of their forefathers originated from Germany, with the next highest number from Ireland and about 9% tracing their ancestry to Britain.

      • anon
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

        Maybe. Why upset a potentially vexatious trading partner. Im sure they will note however they can get a deal with us rather quicker.

      • Pominoz
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink


        There is much positive sentiment towards the UK here. Lots of good, highest quality, stuff – beef, wine etc. to sell to the UK at very competitive prices with enough also to trade elsewhere in the world, including with the EU, but without being controlled by it.

        Aussies are realistic enough to prioritise trade with any partner they can trust. The mistakes made by the UK in the past will have no bearing whatsoever on negotiations now.

  32. Newmania
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Sensible people would not wish to inflict further disruption economic damage and higher prices on the British next year while we are suffering so much anyway.
    Look at it form the Brexit Party point of view and they think like this :

    ..” Excellent with millions out of work no-one will notice another million and …with people dropping dead in schools hospitals and care homes …who cares about losing markets and suppliers ”

    I wonder who they will blame ….the economic advisers probably , honestly , this is the sort of government you used to read about in some dead beat country . A diet of childish propaganda incompetence and big hats

    • NickC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, Sensible people would not wish to inflict further disruption and economic damage, and higher prices, on the British next year while we are suffering so much anyway. Which is why we should leave the EU empire right away. That way we won’t have to go on paying and obeying, won’t get tied into the next MFF, and won’t extend our liability to bail out the Euro.

      • Newmania
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        Would you make any other decision on the basis of a tiny number of cranks set against every informed and authoritative opinion available ?

        I just feel like saying” Because I said so now go and tidy up your room”

      • bill brown
        Posted May 22, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink


        thee will be no bail out , oh I forgot you do not base exclamations on facts

  33. jerry
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    There’s still far to much protectionism for certain home grown products that we might also wish to -in time- export, for example; Milk products and slaughtered beef. All that is needed are the old style govt backed product & produce marketing boards and campaigns that extol the benefits and advantages of “Buying British” along with very clear country of origin/manufacture labelling.

    • jerry
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      OT, I have concerns regarding the govts wish for primary schools to return from the beginning of next month, not that I think the school environment is the problem, I’m sure schools will be able to maintain social distancing and good personal hygiene amongst the children and staff. My worry is outside the school gates, these children will need to be taken to and from school by parent or careers, the average age of these adults are within the demographics of those most likely to ignore social distancing due to the govts early and daft mixed messages that those under 40 not being at great risk, coupled to the mistaken belief that children are all but immune to the virus.

      • SecretPeople
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        Hi Jerry, not only will no more than around 25% of primary school children be returning, but schools will implement staggered pick up and drop off times, and not allow parents onto the site. To be honest I’m not sure how that last part will work when dropping off small children – unless perhaps there will be a 2m separated queue to the gate.

        • jerry
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

          @SP; As I said, the problem is not within the schools, they can be policed, and perhaps immediate area outside the school gate. The problem is going to be huddles forming some place away from the school gate – there is no way a school can implement, even with just one average class (meaning two groups of 15 [1]), staggered pick up and drop off times that would prevent this.

          If the govt wants to get some children back into education I suspect, safety and social distancing wise, it would be simpler to get at least some secondary forms back first – but then most 11-16 year old children, even if it does bend the law, can be left home for a few hours whilst the parents are out doing their part-time work – ho-hum!

          [1] which I understood was due to classroom SD needs, not staggered start/end times

  34. Andy
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    It is a frankly silly document which really does demonstrate the foolishness of the UK position.

    The biggest barrier to trade is not tariffs. With very few exceptions most tariffs are pretty low. Even in the EU.

    The biggest barrier to trade is non tariff barriers. The fact that different countries have different rules for different products.

    So a dishwasher manufacturer, for example, used to have to follow 28 different sets of rules to sell its product in all 28 EU countries. Thanks to the single market rules on dishwashers are the same – so the saving on all that extra bureaucracy is immense.

    Brexit puts all that bureaucracy back – just for us. The Brexiteers tell us they want to set their own rules. Apparently dishwasher regulation is a matter of sovereignty. So we will now have extra bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Times this by not only ever product but every component of ever product and you end up with an almighty mess.

    There will be some products which may be a bit cheaper after Brexit. But overall prices will go up to cover the extra Brexit bureaucracy. Bureaucracy brought to you by people who said they’d cut red tape but who are actually hiring 50,000 customs pen pushers and installing a border down the middle of our own country.

    Plus if a producer save 0.7% on a tariff do you really think they will pass that on to a retailer? And if they do pass it on to a retailer do you really think the retailer will pass it on to a customer?

    Reply What a silly post. The EU will continue to gave a single standard for dishwashers after we fully leave. We can decide whether their standard is acceptable to us or not, just as we can decide on US standards etc.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Yet again Andy shows his lack of knowledge of the many different standards throughout Europe.
      Check out electrical and plumbing standards as just two examples Andy come back to us.

      UK manufacturing industry currently meets every requirement of every overseas markets they sell into.

      You quite obviously have no real experience of trading.

  35. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Hooray! Well done the conservative government!

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I hope you’re right.

      If so then thank you JR for his efforts.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Well we shall see if they are a Conservative Government. Not much sign as yet. They have not even cancelled the net zero carbon lunacy or HS2 after all.

      I see that opt out organ donation is coming in today. I approve of this – it must be about the only thing the dreadful Theresa May did that was not extremely negative.

      Almost the only thing Cameron did that was positive was to make squatting illegal. Though idiotically he did include commercial buildings so now they break in to those instead (well done).

      Would be nice to see a real Conservative Government not had one in my lifetime yet Thatcher largely failed despite largely having her heart in the right place.

  36. William Long
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    It is great to see, at last, this list actually written down. Surely it must make even M. Barnier realise that we are no longer part of the EU and have no intention of changing that?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      The young have every intention of changing that.

      And they will be here to do it long after you have left the scene too.

      • Fred H
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        been polishing that crystal ball again? Or your tarot cards turned by some kids?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Odd how nearly 4 years after the referendum nothing has changed.
        There is still a majority to leave.

        • margaret howard
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          Majority? 17m votes?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

            No I mean more than 50% of voters.
            But I realise this is a difficult concept for you to grasp.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 22, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

            Polls suggest a majority still want to leave.

        • bill brown
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Edward 2

          Stop being so patronising your grasp of facts does ot justify this sort of attitude

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        They will not have the money required to ‘join the EU’ should it. By some miracle, survive the decade.

      • NickC
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Martin, No, they don’t.

  37. Richard1
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The Franco-German €500bn proposed transfer Fund is interesting. On the face of it it’s just the sort of major transfer the EU needs to be doing given the currency union and the stated intention for a political union. It’s said not to be in the form of repayable loans which will be ‘debt’ but then there are some vague weasel words about repayment through future EU budgets. No doubt any EU member state wishing to leave in the future will be requested to repay any funds received, a clever wheeze.

    But it’s still only c 3% of EU GDP and most currency unions like the US the U.K. etc have much higher than that. Will member states which aren’t in the eurozone be on the hook for it – like Sweden and Denmark? I guess so.

    But the eurozone is starting to do what it needs to do – full fiscal and political union. Those arguing for return to the EU by the U.K. need to address this point, so long made by eurosceptics but denied by EU advocates.

  38. John S
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I would like to see large tariffs on Chinese goods while they treat animals in such a cruel way and continue to slaughter wild animals in filthy conditions. .

    • steve
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      @John S

      Well said !

      Though I have a feeling China is finished anyway.

  39. John
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    So happy, congratulations to all involved this is better than I thought.

    Notice not much about it in the ‘news’ media.

    Well done!

  40. Sharon Jagger
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    When you look at it, on the whole, the government aren’t doing badly. They are up against a tremendous amount of left wing socialist views at every turn, even from within the Tory party. And unfortunately, the PM is engaged to one, and of course one’s spouse must invariably influence one’s thinking from time to time.

    If we could just say no to Huwaaei, HS2, reduce the overseas budget to a more realistic figure, stop illegals turning up daily…we’d be doing even better!

    I welcome the trade document as a positive step forward.

  41. Edwardm
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    A good move.

  42. Fred H
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Perhaps a new dawn arising on the horizon? About time too!

  43. ukretired123
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for all your tireless efforts SJR!

  44. Passingby
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Speaking for England- maybe Ýes

    Speaking for UK- No

    Between you and the rest of the ERG no hopers- you have led us into a cul-de-sac that frankly I see no way out

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Open your eyes then – it’s an open highway an the British People voted for Brexit 6 times! The ERG punched way above their weight because they had 17.4 million of us standing with them.

      Thank you JR for your courage and cool head in the ERG. When others lost theirs, you kept yours. Anomalous with the Battle of Britain pilots. So much owed by so many to so few.

  45. Edward2
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Excellent news again.

    Those on here who have never imported nor exported anything in their lives play armchair expert and I see in every post they make their lack of knowledge.
    Just parroting what they read in the Guardian and Independent.

    Over decades I experienced little difference in complexity in trading inside or outside the EU.
    And these new simpler tariff schedules will make it even easier.

  46. blearyeyed
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Surely the transitional talks with EU should be brought to the WTO directly instead of being held bilaterally thats if we really want to get Free Trade talks going. The next EU Council meeting is scheduled for 18th 19th June so it’s too late now for FTA with them in a bilateral way.

  47. Iain Moore
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    It’s no good having free trade when its not reciprocal free trade, I am thinking of China here. Without a level playing field all we are doing is opening ourselves up to be asset stripped.

    Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    ‘freer trade’? What exactly is that?

  49. S J Matthews
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    I would appreciate it if you air your thoughts on a cryptocurrency pound. Call it the bitpound or iPound. It occurs to me that a BoE backed stablecoin could be a huge winner, and would facilitate trade.

    • hefner
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      The first sine qua non creating condition of a cryptocurrency is that it is independent of any central bank. A BoE backed iPound (or whatever you want to call it) is an oxymoron.

      • S Matthews
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Then why do stablecoins exist, backed by various financial institutions?

        • hefner
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          Which stablecoin are you backing? And which institutions are backing your stablecoin of choice?

  50. Freeborn John
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The Withdrawal agreement annex on Northern Ireland is a classic of EU legalise. It makes the default situation that the EU tariffs will apply on trade from GB to NI except in the case of consumer goods that are not “at risk” of ending up in the Republic. And it gives the EU a veto on which goods are not “at risk”. It also explicitly states that EU tariffs will apply to any component parts from GB used by any manufacturing in NI.

    We should fully expect the EU to say that with the open border between ROI and NI no goods from GB are not “at risk” of ending up in the Republic and therefore that EU tariffs will apply on all goods entering NI from GB. Any other reading is naivety of Theresa May proportions.

    We should also not think of these negotiations as being purely about trade. There are for example dangerous clauses in the political declaration in tying the U.K. into EU defence arrangements which we would be obliged to follow as if still a member state.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Exactly – Any other reading is naivety of Theresa May proportions.

  51. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    After the almost inevitable no-deal, trade patterns will adapt. E.g. The Netherlands will export more services to the rest of Europe and Britain will grow more of its own tulips. No big deal.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      Glad to hear you realise leaving will make little difference Peter.

      • hefner
        Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        My understanding of the exchange above is that PvL did not say it will make little difference.
        He pointed to a possible extension of Dutch services to the rest of Europe (likely to be to the detriment of British ones) and to possibly more tulip growers in Britain.
        With pink-tinted glasses like those Edward2 appears to wear that will make little difference.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          He said ” no big deal”
          He said “trade patterns will adapt”
          Which is why I said what I said in response.

          Check the tint on your own glasses hefner.

          • bill brown
            Posted May 22, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            thank you Canstable

        • Peter van LEEUWEN
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          @hefner: Indeed. As an early example: The 397 companies that chose the Netherlands in 2019 (78 from Britain) mainly operate in services. They are expected to invest about 4bn euros in the first three years.
          I would expect an acceleration after a no-deal Brexit.

        • graham1946
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Then why haven’t they done it already? Possibly because the UK is more garden and flower friendly than the EU countries, or maybe because we actually buy stuff which most of the EU countries cannot afford as they are mostly skint and rely on handouts?

          • bill brown
            Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Graham 1946

            so Sweden, Denmark, Lux , Austria, Finland, Germany , Holland, Poland, Slovenia Slovakia, Estonia and France are all skint and rely on handouts? Please explain

          • graham1946
            Posted May 22, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            Bill Brown

            19 of the 27 take handouts to keep afloat. The remainder pay. Surely you know this being an expert on the EU? Why did you pick the better ones? Perhaps because you think it proves your case. Didn’t mention Greece, Romania etc did you?

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      With recession taking hold in rest of Europe you may well be selling tulip bulbs to eat….

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        @Fred H
        🙂 We continue to have plenty to eat over here.
        I fear you probably would put a hefty tarif on bulb imports.

        • M Brandreth- Jones
          Posted May 22, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          The bulbs this year are squirrel food in my garden.I will therefore be buying from local gardens in the green shoots stage, Tariffs increased .. no I don’t think so as our collective aim is to increase home grown agricultural products which will need initially the attraction of all garden products,imported or otherwise.

    • NickC
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      PvL, Quite a few of your fellow citizens no more like your EU ideology than we do.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        @NickC: We call that our national democracy – lots of different opinions and parties.

  52. dixie
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Good progress

  53. mancunius
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, can you please address the question of Northern Ireland, which (according to the Institute for Government’s gloss of 5 February 2020) will be “obliged to stick to the rules of the EU’s Single Market, in areas such as technical regulation of goods, agricultural and environmental production and regulation, state aid and other areas of north–south co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It will remain part of the EU’s Single Electricity Market.
    “Northern Ireland would need to automatically adopt any changes to these regulations made by the EU. New areas of regulation can be added to the protocol through agreement at the Joint Committee.
    “Northern Ireland’s compliance with EU rules is enforced by the European Commission and the European Court of Justice. EU institutions will also ‘enforce’ arrangements relating to customs in Northern Ireland.”

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Surely this is only for goods exported not for goods made for use and transport within the UK?

      • mancunius
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        a-tracey – It’s far more of a Trojan horse than that.
        In the revised NI protocol, Article 5(2) of the Protocol lays down the following criteria: “Goods subject to commercial processing in Northern Ireland are considered at risk *unless* the Joint Committee deems them otherwise.” [My emphasis].
        So it will depend on how the Joint Committee operates, who sits on it, and what its ‘Joint’ agenda turns out to be. It might mean 75% of the goods inflow, given also that NI is forced to adopt EU regulations on a host of EU technical rules and product standards set out in the 38 pages of Annex 2 to the Protocol, which the October 2019 HoC commentary states ‘confers full jurisdiction on the CJEU to oversee the operation of the EU law applying to Northern Ireland, and the EU’s executive agencies will also enjoy their normal powers within Northern Ireland.

        That the Protocol ‘binds Northern Ireland closely to the EU’ has already been bluntly stated in parliamentary Select Committee reports. The only tiny chink of light is that a future NI Assembly might cancel it in four years’ time. (Though by then the EU might easily dissuade NI from doing so by making life impossible for GB-NI trade.)

        The EU idea is to take NI so far away from UK law and put such difficulties in the way of trade with the mainland, that the inhabitants will for all practical purposes cease to be in union with GB. The JC is their current figleaf.

  54. Fred H
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink


    from BBC news website:-
    Up to 30,000 tests a day which were never intended to diagnose individuals with Covid-19 are distorting the UK’s figures on testing, according to BBC Radio 4’s More or Less programme.
    Producer Kate Lamble says these tests are carried out by universities and statisticians to study the spread of the disease across the country but the Department of Health and Social Care acknowledges they are not being used to diagnose cases.
    With the government aiming to show it can keep daily testing above 100,000, our producer says the tests make it possible for the government to say the target has been hit.

    On 15 May, for example, the government reported 136,486 tests but we can only be sure 69,900 were carried out if we discount these non-diagnostic tests and tests posted to people’s homes which were not necessarily returned.

    Boris stated the new target was 200,000 by 1st June.
    So will non-diagnostic tests continue to be included as if infection testing carries on at a pace! More subtle cheating?

  55. Iain Gill
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    so HMRC sent me a rather large cheque today, they have my bank account they could easily have paid it direct into the bank. so they forced me to go to town and queue at bank unnecessarily.

    drove past three (must be keeping each other company eh) tiny little teenage girls in police uniform (does this mean I am getting old?) pointing speed cameras at people driving at about 5 mph through roadworks where the speed limit is temporarily down to 30 for the roadworks. meanwhile cars still getting nicked elsewhere in town.

    the state really doesnt have a clue what its doing.

  56. APL
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Now that your government has helped lose 9,000 jobs at one of our best high technology companies.

    You can probably give yourselves a pat on the back and a ( tax extorted ) pay rise.

    The Muppets couldn’t have made a bigger mess.

  57. stupidstuff
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    we are already out and by 31st December we’ll be out completely- free, alone and without any agreements in place- it’s what we voted for- to become a backwater

  58. ed2
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Covid 19 is NOT a coronavirus, common colds or flu are NOT cured in 24 hours by anti-inflammation drugs.

    Hydroxychloroquine DOES NOT cure the flu or the common cold. But this stuff does in 24 hours completely cure ‘Covid 19’. How do I know? I have videos of dozens of doctors speaking to crowds of hundreds saying the drug the FDA banned, hydroxychloroquine, that Trump keeps tipping us off about 100% cures even those at deaths door within 24 hours. This drug is for treating chronic inflammation caused by a bad diet.

    Since when has a coronavirus been cured by an anti inflammation drug? So we no longer need vaccines. It seems Covid 19 is caused by processed food and a bad diet. New scientific research papers say everyone who dies has a precondition of ‘chronic inflammation’ caused by processed food.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      what even the bat soup eaters?

    • ed2
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Hydroxychloroquine has already been tested for the flu on humans and failed. So my question is why is it working now when Coronaviruses make up to 40% of the seasonal flu virus. In other words, it should have been at least 40% effective in previous years, but never was.

      Also, all the vaccines in the marking, all 20 of them are RNA vaccines (never authorized for use before), why is no one making a vaccine from the actual virus? Why are they all mimicking protein spikes etc?

  59. Jason
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    So M Gove wants no documentation on goods travelling from NI to GB and also to keep the open border with ROI- well good luck with that- am sure when the time comes HM Government and the EU won’t be found wanting.

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Every delivery travels with a docket make it digital I don’t see the problem with this. When freight goes on a ship they charge more than a standard crossing and the crossings are of sufficient duration to do the checks before they dock.

  60. ed2
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Why do anti Malaria drugs also have some benefit with Covid 19? Malaria is NOT a virus, it is cell poisoning caused by an insect, an external environmental factor. So here is more evidence we are dealing with an immune response, not a coronavirus. We have coronaviruses every year and they make upto 40% of the annual flu virus, so why has no one mentioned anti-malaria drugs cure the flu? Because they don’t, (because Covid 19 in not a coronavirus), or if it is that is not the prominent factor that is causing death.

    Abandon social distancing immediately!

    • Pud
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      ed2, your description of malaria as being a cell poison is wrong. Malaria is caused by a single celled organism. When a mosquito bites it injects saliva containing the malaria parasite. As the parasite is now in the blood it travels to the liver where it enters the liver cells and replicates (and is also hidden from the host’s immune system). It infects new red cells where it is again hidden from an immune response and reproduces asexually, bursting the cell, which releases the parasites who can then travel to the liver to start the cycle again. If the host is bitten by a mosquito it will also ingest the parasite, which travels from the mosquito’s stomach to its salivary glands ready to be injected into the next victim. Simplified description but I hope it’s of interest.

  61. Ian
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Very many thanks Sir John , keep beating that drum of yours!
    Now can someone tell me just what these EU and U.K. negotiators talk about.
    Both sides must just sit and drink coffee ?
    Why not say to the EU
    We will not touch your fishing ground, and you will not touch our ground!

    Right now we are going to go WTO, it Is our Right.
    This non sence well stop for good ! Goodbye

  62. forthurst
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Under the new dispensation for World Trade, will the Tory party continue to sell off our best businesses such as Arm Holdings sold to Softbank Group (an unfocused conglomerate, experiencing a little local difficulty) in order to feed the insatiable greed of the so-called investment banks that infest our financial hub? Is there actually any hope for UK plc if a typical Tory minister does his industrial apprenticeship, if he does one at all, not in productive industry but in the parasitical world of investment banking?

  63. Iain Gill
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Suggest all politicians read Nigel Farages tweets today, and ask the home secretary wtf is going on.

    • anon
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes. I was concerned that the UK Border Farce vessel apparently threatened a UK vessel carrying journalists filming in a public place.

      This is the 2nd time the state in a few weeks the state has intimidated a journalist reporting newsworthy items.

      Can we get more “forensic” questioning. Code in parliament for proper common sense questions needing answers and accountability.

  64. David Brown
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Sadly I do not have a lot of trust or faith in the World Trade Organization and not sure its heading in the same direction as World Health Organization.
    World trade has serious structural problems along with global warming.
    The £ is under pressure as the economy slips into a deep recession and may collapse leading to IMF bailout. The Euro is the strongest European currency
    I also feel Scotland has a right to agree its own trade with the EU and closer lineament as it overwhelmingly voted to stay in the family of Europe.

    • Fred H
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree that Scotland should decide its own destiny. Should you wish to do what Germany dictates rather than a Union decided Government, then go Independent.

      Good luck with that.

      Oil value plummets over time, English Civil Service jobs come back over the border, military bases and associated infrastructure jobs come back. Customers might decide they won’t buy Scottish anymore, border checks required in the EU from a 3rd Country etc.
      Sounds like economic suicide to me, but go do it!

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Fred H

        Oil is the past

        The civil service is a bloated organisation that needs pruning

        Military full of career generals and admirals with no ships. In this atomic age what is their role?

        The world loves Scottish goods and the taxes from whisky alone will boost Scottish coffers rather than London ones.

        After 300 years of being a very junior partner Scotland will come into her own again and rejoin her European family

        My Scottish daughter in law can’t wait.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Fred H. Fully agree with your comments. Oil prices are volatile. During the last referendum they were low. They will soon see how difficult life can be.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      You really think the Euro is stronger than the pound and the dollar?

      • bill brown
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Edward 2

        Yes I would agree the EURO at this stage is stronger than the Pound and this is inked to three things our balance of payment, th size of our national debt and our lack of productivity

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Currencies are mostly about confidence and partly about the decades of successful existence a currency has had.
          I hope you are right when thinking the Euro has a good future ahead of it.
          As it does affect us here in the UK.
          Its strength depends mainly on how strong the German economy is in the future.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      The WHO is part of the corrupt UN. The WTO is not. Sterling has bounced and if you think the Euro is strong, invest in it! I don’t even keep the small change.
      Scotland voted explicitly to Remain in the U.K. The Brexit referendum was a nationwide poll and the majority was to leave.

      • margaret howard
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Lynn Atkinson

        That poll was BEFORE the Brexit referendum which changed everything.

        It’s inconceivable that 17m voters can determine the future of 70m citizens and call it a democratic process.

        It’s just a matter of time before Scotland and Ireland leave the union.
        As for the Sterling ‘bounce’ – 1.11? Some bounce.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          Still no majority for Scottish independence.
          Especially now the oil price has fallen.

  65. glen cullen
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I see that the home office has again capitulated to media demand and have given special treatment and leave to stay for families of non-eu nationals who died in employment of the NHS

    • Iain Gill
      Posted May 21, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      The NHS is the state religion, and it’s high priests must get special reverence and treatment.

      • glen cullen
        Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink


  66. a-tracy
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    What is the NHS surcharge for migrants with a planned increase, from £400 to £624, that will go ahead in October?

    Who does it apply to?

    If working do they also pay Employee’s NI and have Employer’s NI made on their behalf?

    Is this for everyone except EU nationals?

    If British people pay National Insurance over £9516 per annum, how much has the court today said if a migrant earns below they don’t have to pay for their health cover? This is bizarre – why are the very people thinking we should all pay more for the NHS and pay them more not want to pay towards the NHS?

  • 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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