I voted for the Clause 38 override when I voted for the Withdrawal Act

I reproduce below part of my speech on the Withdrawal Act as it is very relevant today. I and like minded colleagues only voted for the Withdrawal Act because it provided a clear UK legal override if the EU did not keep to their promises of respecting UK sovereignty and working to a Free Trade Agreement.

My contribution to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill debate, 8 January 2020
By JOHNREDWOOD | Published: JANUARY 9, 2020
John Redwood (Wokingham (Con): Clause 38 is welcome. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) for being one of the co-authors of that excellent piece of Government-proposed legislation. I also support the Minister in opposing various new clauses and amendments before us.

It seems to come down to the question, “What is sovereignty?” I think the public understand it so much better than many Opposition MPs seem to. The public fully understand that our constitution should be based on the proposition that the public decide who should represent them in the House of Commons. The House of Commons decides what laws are appropriate, what taxes to raise and how to spend that money. At the end of four or five years—or sometimes a shorter period—the public get to judge whether we collectively made a good job of it or not, or whether there is some new configuration of Members of Parliament that can make it better. So the public are ultimately sovereign but they trust us, their elected Members, with their sovereignty for a period of up to five years to exercise the powers of government.

When we first joined the European Economic Community, the country was assured that that sovereignty —that set of powers—would not be damaged in any way. To underwrite that promise the Government said, correctly then, that there would be no matter decided in the European Economic Community that could be forced on the United Kingdom against its will. We always had a veto so that if it proposed a law, a charge or a tax that we did not like, we could use the veto. Over our years of membership, we have seen those vetoes gradually reduced—those powers taken away. So today, although we are still a full member of what is now the European Union, there are huge swathes of policy areas where we are not free to legislate where we wish, or in some cases not free to legislate at all, because it is entirely occupied territory under the Community acquis.

The ultimate sovereign power in the United Kingdom today is the European Court of Justice. That is the ultimate appeal of any legal issue, and it can overrule what the two Houses of Parliament decide. It can overrule a statute, and it can strike down a law passed in this place. It is that which a majority of the British people decided they thought was unsatisfactory.

When they had voted many years ago to support our continued membership of the European Economic Community it was called a Common Market and misrepresented as a free trade area. This of course is rather different from a customs union with complex rules. They were given an assurance that Parliament would still be able to choose their taxes, spend their money and pass their laws in the traditional way. That turned out not to be true.

The loss of those freedoms was progressive under the Single European Act, under the Maastricht treaty, under the Amsterdam treaty, the Nice treaty and, above all, the Lisbon treaty. The Lisbon treaty was the culmination of that journey towards a very strong European Government that was superior to the United Kingdom Government. It implied substantial strengthening of the wide-ranging powers of the European Court of Justice, because every directive and every regulation that was passed—and there were thousands of them—not only produced a more directly acting legal power over ​our country that we could not modify or change, but also gave so much more extensive powers to the European Court of Justice because it is the ultimate arbitrator of that body of law.

It is that body of law which this legislation today is seeking to put under United Kingdom control. We have been arguing over this for three and a half years now. The public thought it was a very simple matter and told us to get on with it. We had a fractious and unhelpful Parliament until recently, which did all in its power to thwart the putting into law of the wishes of the United Kingdom electors.

I hope today, after a second general election and after a referendum where the British people made it clear that they wished their sovereignty to rest again with them and be delegated to their Parliament, that the Opposition might have understood that, and might have understood that currently, contrary to what we have been told by the Labour Front Bench, there are a very large number of areas where we cannot do as we please.

Let us start with the money. Yes, we wish to take back control of the money. This Parliament cannot decide to reduce the amount of money it pays to the European Union. They decide that: they determine the bill and they enforce the bill. I hope that Ministers can reassure me that after December, at the end of the implementation period, that will cease and we will only pay when there is an agreement between us and the European Union that we accept for services or joint policies that we wish to undertake as a sovereign nation. We cannot go on accepting their hand in our pocket, taking our money under their legal powers.

I personally think it is a great pity that we have had such a delay to exit, because I resent the net £1 billion or more a month we are paying in. That will continue, I am afraid, throughout this year. I would like that money for priorities in Wokingham and in the constituencies of other colleagues here in the House of Commons. I find it very odd that so many MPs are so dismissive of the significance of the money, given the quite important role it seemed to play in the referendum campaign and given how colleagues are normally very keen to see increases in expenditure on public services in our country. They do not make the connection that if we carry on paying very large sums to the European Union, it limits our scope to make the increases they would like.

It also means we do not control our own taxes, so our country cannot choose the power to tax any of our sales. That is determined for us. It has to be the VAT tax system. We had to introduce that when we joined the European Union. There are arguments for continuing with some kind of VAT system, but surely we want to decide what rate it is levied at and what items it is levied on. There are quite a number of items that I think it should not be levied on, where I think I would find agreement across the Committee. However, we are not allowed today to remove VAT from green products, for example, because that is against European Union rules. I therefore look forward to our opportunity to shape our own taxation system as soon as we are properly out.

There is then the issue of when we actually have control over our law. What I hope clause 38 will achieve is that if the European Union decides during the implementation period to pass laws that are particularly ​penal on the United Kingdom or are damaging to our commercial and economic interests, we can use that reassertion of parliamentary sovereignty before the expiry of the implementation period to ensure that that particular law does not apply to the United Kingdom. Otherwise, there is an invitation to anyone of bad will in the European Union to think of schemes that would be disadvantageous to the United Kingdom during the implementation period.

On borders, where again those on the Labour Front Bench seem surprisingly dismissive of a very important question that has been in our debate throughout the referendum and in subsequent general elections, I think there is a general view in the country, which goes well beyond Conservative voters, that there should be a fair system of entry between EU and non-EU people. At the moment, the EU gets preference. I think a lot of people feel that there should be some overall limitation on the numbers of people coming in seeking low-paid work or speculatively seeking work. They favour some kind of a work permit system, which is quite common in many other advanced civilised countries. Because we wish people who join us to be welcomed, because we want them to live to a decent standard and because we accept the commitment to pay them benefits and find them subsidised housing if that is their requirement, surely it should be in our power to decide how many people we welcome in this way, and to decide that that should be related to our capacity to offer them something worth while, and to our economic needs. I give way to my right hon. Friend, who has done so much in this area.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con): May I just pick up on one point? My right hon. Friend talks about, “should we wish to give them benefits”. The reality now is that the British Government have to pay benefits even to families of people working over here when their families are not with them. That is roundly disliked across Europe, but those countries all accept there is nothing they can do about it because the European Court of Justice imposed that as part of freedom of movement. It was never debated as part of freedom of movement and it was never supposed that it would happen. It is an end to sovereignty when one can no longer make a decision to change something like that.

John Redwood: My right hon. Friend puts it brilliantly; that is exactly the kind of limitation of our sovereign power, and of our freedom to make decisions that please our electors, that I have been talking about. It is quite important, given the history of this debate.

The speech then went on to make the case for England having a say in these matters…..

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  1. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    It was a great failing of the political class – both here and across the Channel – that the veto wasn’t used often enough. I look forward to Italexit and Frexit.

    • Peter
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Safeguarding our sovereignty in a nutshell. Might be a little long for the tabloid press though.

      I think the government made a hash of announcing the rethink on the withdrawal agreement.

      It was not very sensible to leave it to Remainer Brandon Lewis. The jury is still out on whether he was ill-informed and clumsy, or possibly out to make mischief for a genuine Brexit.

      Now there is a full force EU/Remain propaganda blitzkreig.

      The question is whether Boris will hold firm and reestablish his reputation with voters, or whether he will get scared and go for a fudge.

    • Andy
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Um, well no one else is leaving the EU so you will be very disappointed. They’ve seen what a mess you’ve all made of it.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      As do I, as do I

    • Hope
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Timothy Bradshaw in Con Woman makes a far better case why the EU should get stuffed along, as far as I am concerned, with the traitors in Whitehall and Westminster.

      Johnson lied to say May’s deal was dead. Pressured by Merkel he signed it! Utter tosser! Only 30 Tory MPs did not vote for it!

      Under pressure from Macron he flipflopped over the Chinese virus. What is it with him, does he not have a backbone? Heralds Churchill behaves like a jelly fish. No wonder the EU keep taking advantage of the weak insipid politcos at Westminster.

      Who wrote Brandon Lewis’s statement for parliament? Martin Howe QC and others do not think it is a breach of international law. Why did the the legal goon who resigned not kick up a furor or resign when it was proposed to sign the WA and PD as it was against the national interest! What was he advising?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      You’ll be waiting a long time, given the lamentable spectacle that this country has made of itself with a puritanically-fixated, brexit Tory government.

      As for the piece, well, John would say that, wouldn’t he?

      • steve
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink


        “As for the piece, well, John would say that, wouldn’t he?”

        Because it’s the truth.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Keep ranting Martin.
        Your last hurrah before we leave the EU empire and become once again an independent country.

      • Glenn Vaughan
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Predictable response from Martin in Cardiff who would say that wouldn’t he?

      • Edward2
        Posted September 14, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

        Great response.
        Independence seems to be great when it comes to Scotland and Wales.

  2. SecretPeople
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed reading this statement, but think it a shame that the current government have not upheld this part in its Immigration & Social Security Co-ordination bill, given that the cap on numbers has been removed – which I think will prove to be a terrible mistake and one that will almost immediately need to be rectified:

    “surely it should be in our power to decide how many people we welcome in this way”

    • beresford
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      It is being reported elsewhere that even the trifling number that we do deport are back at the Channel within a day or so, some with financial help from immigration activists. Since even the figleaf of a bogus asylum claim isn’t available to these people, shouldn’t return within a certain time trigger an automatic prison sentence before re-deportation? After all, the Government are quite prepared to punish indigenous people who defy an order to leave their homes.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Soon many thousands of people who have paid taxes are going to be made unemployed, turfed out of their homes and not afforded a hotel room to sleep in.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        As a minimum a fine for breaking social distancing laws would be in order.

    • steve
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Secret people

      We were never asked if we would welcome immigrants to our country, it has never happened.

      If governments sought our consent then the answer would likely be no, depending where the immigration comes from.

  3. formula57
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Wise words then, wise words now. But of course you are wise. 🙂

    The people’s Blue Boris has worked wonders on Brexit, especially considering the chaos he inherited from May the Quisling. The Evil Empire, now in disarray and retreat, must be defeated.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. But why did the minister actually state that the new law would break international law – in a minor very specific way? It seemed rather a silly thing to do when this is actually rather arguable.

      The BBC (Week in Westminster today) seems to be against state subsidies so therefore (by their idiotic logic) we should give in and let the EU decide this for the UK for evermore! I too am against unfair competition caused by state subsidies particularly in public broadcasting, health care, transport, renewable energy, housing …….. but I do not think the EU or their courts should have any say on these matters.

      • beresford
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

        OTOH some level of State Aid may be necessary to preserve capability in strategic industries. I hope for example that once freed of EU diktat we will resurrect our steel industry. A country that doesn’t protect strategic industry is open to external blackmail and blockade.

        • John
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

          To get a steel industry back, they need to get rid of the green crap.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

            +1 – Cheap, reliable, on demand energy and get fracking too please. What is the point of exporting jobs and probably increasing new World C02 output in the process?

        • K Jig
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

          Too true!

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        The EU may currently be against state subsidies (in theory at least) but they are free to change that at any time they want without reference to UK. That’s rather the point.

      • anon
        Posted September 13, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        BBC “airing views against state aid”- really.
        Please immediately rescind the BBC funding arrangements. Let them arrange civil contracts between willing parties.

    • Nigl
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink


  4. villaking
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I think your statement overlooks two key principles here. Firstly, it may (or may not) be true that parliament is sovereign and can always override international law. However, what does this do to our reputation for respecting international law and our ability to criticise nations that break it? By this logic we could simply have ignored any ECJ ruling anyway. Secondly, the government won an 80 seat majority with the WA (which at the time had no Clause 38) as its flagship policy. There was much concern about the NI border at the time. At no point were the electorate informed that if elected, the government would break international law to override the NI protocol. Remember, it is not even disputed by the government that it is breaking international law with this bill. The question is not why wouldn’t we want to make laws to protect the integrity of the whole of the UK but why would we sign a treaty that did so in the first place?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The EU breaks International law on a regular basis. The WA is not an international treaty as such as I don’t think that the EU is a signatory to the Vienna Convention.
      It is an agreement between 2 parties.
      As the EU has manifestly not negotiated in good faith the WA is null and void.
      Making demands is not negotiating.

      • acorn
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Look at the Legislation https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eut/withdrawal-agreement/contents/adopted It says in the left side column “This is a Treaty originating from the EU”. The Vienna Convention only applies to Sovereign States not international organisations; yet.

      • Hope
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        How about Germany’s coal fired power stations being built or the gas pipeline from Russia? Why is the EU turning a blind eye to these anti green measures it harps on about. Germany can hardly claim the carbon footprint belongs elsewhere!

        Sadly the mess is of the Fake Tory army’s making. JR and chums should accept the blame only 30 voted against it. No one in the it right mind should have voted for it! Johnson justmrewarded the traitors who did everything to stop the public mandate and we still have to suffer hearing Mayhab! She should have been out on her ear, investigated and punished a Chequers in reverse if you like- not reward her husband!

        • Everhopeful
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          Well Germany can’t have its industries threatened can it?
          It is using its power to dodge the greeny slime that constrains the rest of the EU .
          When our out-of-power-electric vehicles are being smashed up on smart motorways they will be happily chugging along in their diesels.
          They aren’t STUPID like the UK.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        Read Martin Howe on the Vienna Convention. It would not save us. But the WA is not a treaty, it’s a made up stepping stone to the U.K. resuming its Sovereign status after 47 years.

      • rose
        Posted September 13, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Frau Merkel broke international, EU, and German law in 2015. She didn’t do this in the higher German national interest but out of moral cowardice. She couldn’t face having to defend unbecoming footage at the borders.

        She went on to make an agreement with the Turks to ameliorate some of the damage she had done: they would house millions of Syrians and we would pay. She took a huge sum off David Cameron – and then refused to pay the Turks the agreed amount in full.

        If the breach is outrageous enough and the perpetratress important enough, no-one notices.

    • formula57
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      @ villaking – You make two fair points, the rejoinders to which are:

      – If the FCDO does not employ persons sufficiently skilled at defending the UK’s actions whilst criticizing other nations then it needs to get some staff who are more adept. (I do acknowledge that this is a concern.)

      – The UK has an excellent record at upholding (and developing) international law and actions now contemplated should not do material harm for the UK is recognizing that the legal principle of pacta sunt servanda can be and is on this occasion trumped by the equally robust legal principle of clausula rebus sic stantibus. (The maladroit von Leyden needs to inform herself about this.)

      – The UK signed a treaty that expressly presumed that a Free Trade Agreement would be negotiated in good faith and come into force. That has not happened despite the UK’s best efforts and therefore it is not only quite proper but necessary and consistent with well-developed and recognized international law practices that consequential actions are taken that have the effect of dis-applying certain treaty provisions.

      I do not see much of a problem, except for the Evil Empire that was too clever by half and has seen its wicked stratagems thwarted.

      • Simeon
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        It seems that what you argue rests on the EU having not negotiated in good faith. Other than sticking to its red lines, for which they ought to be admired rather than castigated – oh that UK governments were so steadfast in defending this country’s interests – what have they done wrong? My view is that they are playing hardball because they believe – for very good reason – that the UK will blink first. This is not at all the same as negotiating in bad faith.

        As for the legal technicalities, these are, though not irrelevant, of secondary importance. If, for argument’s sake, the UK were found to be acting within the law in passing the proposed legislation, will the EU hold their hands up, accept they were wrong, and cough up a lovely FTA? Or would our relations with an important trading partner remain soured?

        To be clear, my view has always been that proper Brexit would entail economic disruption and cost, but that this was a price well worth paying to regain sovereignty. But an intelligent, honest approach from the start (or in fact at any point) would have both made a proper Brexit possible, and preserved civil relations with the EU, and, more importantly, its constituent nations. But that ship has long since sailed.

        • formula57
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          @ Simeon “It seems that what you argue rests on the EU having not negotiated in good faith.”

          No, it rests upon the fact there is no FTA despite the UK’s best efforts. It does not rely at all upon whether the other side has negotiated in good faith or not.

          • Simeon
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            Perhaps the UK’s efforts have been our best, but if so, that says a great deal about what we’re capable of, and hardly fills one with confidence that this country’s future is bright. But then this is hardly new information.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 14, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

            Would you just accept what the EU demand in order to get an agreement?
            I think you probably would.

        • steve
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink


          “It seems that what you argue rests on the EU having not negotiated in good faith”

          The EU has not negotiated in good faith. In fact they refuse to negotiate at all until we surrender UK sovereign fishing areas to France.

          • Simeon
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

            They’re playing hard ball. That’s not bad faith, but a response to bad UK negotiating. The UK government wants certain things from the EU, and the sacrifice of fishing rights is part of the price.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

          Because the EU never wanted a deal with the UK.
          That was obvious from near the start of negotiations.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        No international Treaty can constrain any country’s Sovereignty. That is International Law! Where does that put the Treaty of Rome and subsequent amendments? The EU is in breach of international law and always has been!

    • acorn
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      There was no Clause 38 to vote for in the “Withdrawal Act”, it didn’t turn up till the “Withdrawal Agreement Act”. The North Korea style clause 45, turns up in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, “Certain provisions to have effect notwithstanding inconsistency or incompatibility with international or other domestic law”.

      All this is way over the heads of your average “leave” voter; hence, ERG Brexiteers are exploiting “leave” voter ignorance to the max. If I were fronting their campaign, I would be doing exactly the same.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        You may have not noticed it.
        But it was all there.
        It is a public record available to all.
        Look it up and read it.
        I did.

    • NickC
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Villaking, There is no “override” to the bilateral agreement between the UK and the EU unless the EU attempts to deviously and beligerently misuse provisions within the WA to break up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. UK officials say the EU has made such threats. The UK government is merely using the precautionary principle to protect us from such a gross violation of the spirit and letter of the WA by the EU. I am surprised that even a Remain could pretend that the UK reaction comes first.

  5. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    A welcome read, but in terms of practical and immediate sovereignty what is your government doing to stop the daily mass invasion of our shores.

    Answer nothing.

    Where does that leave us?

    Does Boris care?

    Does he hellaslike!

    • Original Chris
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Apparently 54 boats were welcomed yesterday.

      • glen cullen
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        54 confirmed by coast guard

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      And the destruction of our pubs.

      This government seems hell bent on the destruction of this nation.

    • rose
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Max Hastings didn’t say that when Boris was Mayor. Hastings is typical of the bitter old remainers who can’t forgive Boris for Brexit. Sumption is another and Parris a third. All men of previously good judgement who have been blinded into stupidity and petty vendetta by the EU.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Wise words indeed once again.

  7. Nigl
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I just wish Brandon Lewis had highlighted 38 rather than saying we were breaking international law. That is the sound bite you are being harpooned on.

    • NickC
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Sack Brandon Lewis. His statement was either thoughtless or malicious. In either case it is not good enough. There is no international law broken by the UK in passing a protective clause to enable the government to react fast in case a foreign power attempts to break up our country.

      • Simeon
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        So if Brandon Lewis is not sacked, what might that tell us? Actually, nothing more than what some (many?) already suspect, and what will, I firmly believe, in the fulness of time, be revealed. (Though even if he is sacked, what does that mean? He wouldn’t be the first to be thrown under a bus. So, best to wait for January 1st, 2021 then.)

        And let’s have this right. If the WA amounts to the breaking up of our country – as indeed many pointed out at the time that Blowers returned triumphant with his much-vaunted deal of the century – then the UK government played its full part. To believe otherwise is… well, there’s no need to spell it out.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          If Lewis is not sacked it tells us that Boris is not recovered from the Wahun Virus.
          You have an amazingly aggressive and dismissive style – the stench of Remain comes through strongly.
          Sadly the Remainers consider themselves educated rather than indoctrinated. But they are wrong and have no mental agility to comprehend that. The most brilliant people have always been Leavers. Too much for the limited Remainers to comprehend.

          • Simeon
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            Well, your comment reveals much about you.

            I will simply reveal that, in principle, I am a Leaver, in that I believe very strongly not only in national sovereignty but, even more profoundly, in individual sovereignty.

            In practice, I didn’t vote, understanding that, Brexit or no Brexit, the root of our political problems would not be addressed. The idea of Brexit is a very good one. The manner in which it is being implemented is an embarrassment.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 14, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

            If you didn’t bother to vote then it is a bit late to be posting non stop demanding your way is the right way.
            Having read your many recent postings I cannot understand how you can possibly describe yourself as a Brexit supporter.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink


      • Everhopeful
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        I think I read that his remark was actually scripted. ( Those in charge told him to say it).
        Most odd!

        • rose
          Posted September 13, 2020 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Remain Civil Servants?

  8. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    This whole argument could have been avoided if a simple paragraph was inserted within the WA saying nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

    We heard it often enough, but in the end no one pushed for it. A rather silly exclusion at the time given we all know you can never trust the EU on anything, and that they serve their own interests first, and last.

    • Andy
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      The Withdrawal Agreement is a legally binding international treaty. It was enacted into law when it was approved by MEPs and by MPs when they voted for the withdrawal agreement act. You don’t insert ‘this treaty is ignorable’ clauses into international treaties.

      Reply We did to protect ourselves and now need to claim on the insurance

      • steve
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink


        “The Withdrawal Agreement is a legally binding international treaty”

        No it is not.

        It is not a treaty.

        The EU agreed to Cl 38, so tuff.

        Check your facts Andy, and stop watching biased telly.

    • beresford
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      The EU are entitled to serve their own interests and Barnier is not a referee. What is at fault is the naivety of our leaders and negotiators (pre-Frost) in their dealings with the EU, which EU leaders have often been staggered by. As an EU commentator said ‘If we want six, we ask for ten. If they want six, they ask for six’.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Oh no. If the British want 6 they tighten their belt, make the case for the ‘underdog’ opposite number (Mugabe etc) and ask for 4. They are never seen as generous, only stupid.

    • Simeon
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      But the EU wouldn’t have agreed to it, and BJ was desparate for a deal. Which, in a nutshell, tells us everything we need to know. The path was settled last year. This present business is pure theater.

  9. agricola
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Is there now something in the Boris WA that we now find distasteful. If so why was it signed up to in the first place.

    Second , I cannot see the logic or difference between a box of spanners being exported to the EU on a lorry via the Channel Tunnel or similar box being exported via Stranrear to Belfast and on to Dublin.

    For me, anything in our divorce bill from the EU that sets out to make one part of the UK different from another in it’s future relationship with the EU is unacceptable. I think the EU seek to divide and would use this manufactured tool to do so.

    There would appear to be a misunderstanding on the part of the EU as to what a sovereign state is. It is a state where the governance of that country rests entirely within the bounds of that country through its electorate and Parliament.

    It would seem that the EU could sign up to an FTA and the problem goes away or we fall back on WTO rules. In the latter case they will enjoy a diminishing share of what the UK imports. Maybe a dose of that would adjust their thinking , given the experience.

    • Andy
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      No, an FTA does not make this problem go away. A free trade agreement with the EU will not mean trade continues as it does now. Even a tariff and quota free trade deal will still require significant extra bureaucracy and more checks. This is because wherever there are customs borders in the world there are checks on goods at those borders. So there will be checks at Dover and Calais – and at other UK and EU ports whatever is in the trade deal we eventually do with the EU.

      Those same checks will need to happen on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and Ireland. BUT because of the sensitivity of the border, the history of violence and the requirements of the Good Friday Agreement we cannot put the required customs border along the actual border between NI and the Republic. Theresa May came up with her hybrid solution which everybody hated. It took Boris Johnson to agreed to a customs border down the Irish Sea to break the logjam. The EU gets its single market protected because goods are checked entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. The UK has decided not to protect goods coming into NI from the Republic because it can’t.

      Incidentally it is not the EU that is being picky about a customs border. Under WTO rules customs borders are expected between different customs jurisdictions and disputes can be raised against anyone breaking those rules.

      Turns out it is all a lot more complex than you were led to believe. And, to think, most of you wanted to protect our borders from people, not from goods.

      • agricola
        Posted September 13, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        It only gets complex Andy when such as yourself attempt to explain it. This suggests you have an ulterior motive and a preference for chaos over order as it supports your basic arguement.

    • 'None of the above'.
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Well Said!

    • NickC
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, The EU, and Remain, regard the EU’s market as incredibly fragile. They seem to think that having to inspect exports from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Eire is impossible. It is all very odd.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Ref your penultimate paragraph; I don’t know if the responsible people in the EU actually read the UK law referred to, but what this boils down to is whose law is superior. I’d suggest the EU relies on the ECJ to rule in their favour in the event of any challenge to their interpretation of the superior document.

  10. Original Chris
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    54 boats were welcomed yesterday, apparently.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Amazingly Boris is making vague noises about opting out of Human Rights in order to stop the illegals.
      Will believe that when it happens!
      Why not just STOP THEM?
      But then, I expect the numbers are insignificant compared to other immigration. Maybe even a diversion from it?

      • rose
        Posted September 13, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Coming out of the ECHR and repealing the Human Rights Act are essential steps to regaining control of our borders.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 14, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      welcomed by whom? I have no knowledge of anybody outside the weirdos on this diary?

  11. Duyfken
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    S JR refers to Sir Bill Cash as “one of the co-authors” of Clause 38. I am much appreciative of and relieved for Sir Bill’s initiative, and indeed give thanks to him and to JR for watching so carefully over our interests. But who are the other authors?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Martin Howe, Suella Braverman etc. The Star Chamber who came together to protect BRITAIN LEGALLY! And succeeded.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Oh and DUP’s Dodds. Great man!

  12. NickC
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    JR, A brilliant, even beautiful, exposition of Leave. We must regain sovereignty, and that sovereignty must not be jeopardised by the EU.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink


    • Simeon
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Fine words that, sadly, bear little resemblance to the reality. The EU lended us back our sovereignty, only for the government to surrender it again with the WA. Of course, there is never anything stopping the UK from snatching it back, but why snatch something back that had already been returned when it was asked for? What additional cost does that incur? I believe Blowers to be simple-minded, but even I would be surprised if he was this simple, especially when much the more sensible explanation is that he is bluffing – but it’s not the EU that he’s trying to deceive, but Leavers!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Sad Bitter old man. Wrong again. We have fought for 47 years to recover our stolen Sovereignty.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        You have not realised that the UK can legislate on it’s own.
        As an independent nation.
        Like over 150 other free independent nations.
        It must come as a shock to you.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink


    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink


  13. Phil Gilbert
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Sir JOHN, Given the treasury’s wish to raise more revenue would a no deal Brexit,with the imposition of WTO tariffs meet this need to some extent? Tariffs unless absorbed by the EU exporters, would be a tax on the UK consumer but would have the advantage of suppressing imports and favouring home production. Do you have any estimate of the yield from such tariffs? It seems a politically acceptable way for the treasury to raise funds.

    • agricola
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Depends on the balance of imports and exports . About a year ago it was estimated that on EU exports to the UK they woulld pay about £12 billion in duty and we would pay about £7billion in duty on our exports to them. £5 billion PA to the treasury. Now it is anybody’s guess what the calculation might be.

  14. James
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    All of these fine speeches are very well but if we cannot put the ducks in a row and do things in a methodical way- well? Clarity of thought and honesty is called for but is sadly missing and am afraid we are being led by number one dunce, a puppet of Cummings but first of all himself a failure as a foreign secretary and now a failure as PM. I can see a Nuremburg style rogues gallery looming ahead stuffed with brexit dreamers and deluded politicos who brought us to this sorry state. No doubt a lot of them will refer to past deeds and fine speeches in the House in order to save their collective ass- but you know as we all know in law international as well as UK- ignorance is no excuse.

  15. Simeon
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Much of what you say is all well and good, but precious little actually relates to Clause 38. What does, relates to the prospect of the EU passing laws in 2020 detrimental to UK interests. I’m not aware of them having done so… The WA itself was detrimental to UK interests, at least in the view of sensible people, but your government happily signed up to it. Your government (supposedly) doesn’t like what it agreed to, supposedly because it hadn’t understood the implications – though plenty of people at the time certainly did. So, if the government is actually serious about this proposed legislation then it is even more incompetent than even its response to the virus demonstrates. Or it isn’t actually serious about the legislation (when, by the way, could we expect it to pass into law?), and this is all theater.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      It is about Section 38 and the Supreme Court Gina Miller ruling.
      Parliament is supreme not the UN nor your beloved EU.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted September 13, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        Look up what “jurisdiction” means Ed, and try to understand it.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 13, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          I understand what jurisdiction means thanks.
          How about you read the Supreme Court judgment with Gina Miller and what is written in these two clauses.

  16. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that parliament is sovereign. So as long as parliament votes to amend the WA that is OK – not sure what the Remainers are moaning about, it was them who clarified this exact point.

    • Lawyer
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Parliament can amend UK law. It cannot amend international law. That is why Brandon Lewis correctly admitted the government plans to break internatiobal law by refusing to abide by the oven ready deal. Which MrsThatcher would NEVER have allowed

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Remainer Lawyer?

      • Edward2
        Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        Which the the EU have done many times.
        Where you then?

        • hefner
          Posted September 12, 2020 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

          Edward2, Could you please tell me what international laws have been broken by the EU (the EU as such, not individual member states) and when such things have happened. Thanks in advance.
          This is a serious request, I am always keen to learn from experts.

          • Lawyer
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink


          • Edward2
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            Look it up yourself.
            I’m not your researcher.
            There are loads of examples.

            Try Google as a first effort.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Interesting that you have seperated the 27 nations who make up the European Union away from the European Union itself.

          • hefner
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            Interesting, indeed, as contrary to what you might have read in the latest issue of ‘Beano’, the EU (as such) has never breached any international treaties.

            Now, Edward2, for a jackpot of £10k (in chocolate coins) can you tell me which individual countries among the EU27 might have breached one (or more) of the series of treaties signed in 1957, 1965, 1969, 1979, 1985, 1992, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011 between the EEC/EU countries?
            30 seconds! Tick tock …

          • Edward2
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            Always have to be sarky and insult people dont you hef.
            You snobby remainers with your superior attitude are an embarrassment.
            Getting more desperate and angry as Brexit day approaches.
            All you’ve got left is being abusive.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            And Lawyer, wrong again.
            12th May 2020 the UN told the EU it was in clear breach of international law in its policies and treatment of Libyan refugees.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

            And Hefner.
            The question was originally about EU law.
            Then you decided to redefined it as not being about any European member nation.
            Only the EU as a separate body.

            Then you reduced it to only any breaches of EU treaties.
            Any more sub devisions?
            On a particular day perhaps?

          • dixie
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            Why is the WA full of requirements for immunity from legal recourse for EU executives and staff?

            Could it be they have done things or broken laws we have not found out about yet?

          • hefner
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            And your answer is … ???
            Isn’t it painful to be shown that your comment (12/09 8:56pm) had no value whatsoever?
            And yes, I am sarcastic but only with people like you who write things without having checked the validity of their comments.
            And frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about Brexit.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 13, 2020 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

            I’ve answered your abusive comment already hef.
            In my comment to Lawyer at 4.02pm
            Just one example of many.
            Are you now denying this us correct?

            For someone who says they “dont give a damm about Brexit” I have to ask then why are you constantly on here attacking anyone who does?

          • hefner
            Posted September 14, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            consilium.europa.eu 12 May 2020 ‘Declaration by the High Representative, on behalf of the EU, on Libya’.
            So, what exactly are you talking about?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 14, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

            I expected you to nit pick any example I gave.
            There is no end to your determination to disagree with any point of view that isnt pro EU.
            I note even your link is a completely pro EU website.
            There are other examples this was just a very recent one.
            Several examples have been posted on this site recently.
            Presumably you don’t believe these ones either.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 14, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            I will give you another example.The EU is plainly in breach of article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement which is a breach of international law.

        • hefner
          Posted September 14, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          How is the EU plainly in breach of WA art.184?

          • Edward2
            Posted September 14, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

            Because it hadsn’t negotiated in good faith.

            As required by the Agreement signed.
            Which is why we are where we are today.

          • hefner
            Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            How do you recognize ‘good faith’? Do you assert it yourself or do you need somebody to tell you what to think and whether it is good or bad faith? In that case, who do you trust? ConsHome? ConsW? … DT? DM? BBC? Guardian? Sun? … IEA? ASI? CPS? … Russian provider? any obscure BDI-mad site (NB: not Beck Depression Inventory)? … Sir John’s site and/or some of its contributors?
            How do you build up ‘your truth’?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      It ruled no such thing. It has no power so to do.

      That was the entire basis for its ruling, however.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 14, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Bizarre about face from you Martin.
        At the time of the Gina Miller case you were on here constantlyn posting how our Parliament is Supreme.
        Now suddenly it isn’t.
        Presumably you now want international law to be supreme.
        Better get Gina back into court once more.
        Whichever way the wind blows….

  17. glen cullen
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Past week (7 days) UK death rates (pop.63m)

    Sun 2, Mon 3, Tue 32, Wed 8,Thur 14, Fri 6, Sat 9

    Will someone please tell the health secretary that there isn’t a pandemic?

    And ask every other MP why we’re still in lockdown

    This is now beyond madness

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink


    • Original Chris
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      It is indeed beyond madness. See the excellent analysis of the COVID stats on video, recommended by Prof Carl Heneghan, and tweeted by Hartley Brewer and JamesDelingpole.

      Sir John has apparently declined to publish my comment with the link. It proves beyond doubt the absurdity of the current government policy, using the government’s own data and international COVID data. The video is also on Youtube entitled: Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained, Ivor Cummins.

    • D Note
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      This is now beyond madness


      God is teaching us we can do without politicians.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 12, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      I note that there is now a Tory MP’s WhatsApp group called
      “What the f*** is going on?”
      We’d ALL like to know!!!
      It’s our lives too!

      • Fred H
        Posted September 14, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        there must be thousands of those groups!

  18. Peter
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Just like the Treaty of Limerick 1691 signed between the kings William and James- it’s terms were broken within months heralding in the penal laws against the Irish catholics- ring any bells?

  19. ukretired123
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    As you say Sir John the Public understand what Sovereignty means more than anyone and voted for it Twice!

  20. XYXY
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Excellent speech. Sadly, there are too many low-quality MPs these days and many seem to have made up their mind on the EU and be unable to listen to logic, facts or analysis.

    Having seen what Guido Fawkes unearthed on the MPs who were de-selected (if I remember correctly, (one man ed)received £90k per annum in some form of subsidy and one of the women who ultimately joined the Lib Dems received £25k pa for subsidies on a farm she had in her married name).

    The latest wrangling over the Internal Markets Bill shows that we still have Conservative MPs who either do not understand the issues or have some other reason to do the wrong thing.

    Does the Register of Interests need to be expanded to cover more than it does currently?
    – Different names (maiden vs married).
    – Associates and family members who have vested interests that could influence decisions.
    – Etc etc.

  21. steve
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    A very appropriate topic JR.

    I agree with all that you say, but respond that in my opinion the RoI was / is in cahoots with EU to isolate NI from the rest of the UK.

    This is indeed what Macron said to French fishermen – “France will have access to UK waters, or the UK will be broken up”

    So much for gratitude.

    Also, I don’t see how what Boris is doing violates international law. For starters the WA is an agreement, it is not a treaty. Secondly the EU signed this agreement which included Cl 38.

    Perhaps Barnier and his bum – chum Macron thought we wouldn’t have the bottle to use it.

    Boris gets my fullest support providing he sticks to his guns. Or even better just walks away from the ungrateful French – led cabal right now.

  22. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Bravo John. You made a number of great speeches during that most dangerous period and this was one of them. One reduced me to tears! What we had list, our self awareness and self-esteem. We have been in an ‘abusive relationship’.
    We need cool head of Redwood Now more than ever.

  23. JohnH
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Methinks he protests too much

  24. D Note
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t IGNORE THIS.

    After 18th Sept, The Government are going to say they consulted the public and because there were no objections, we all want and consent to the rollout of unlicensed #vaccines, and that we are happy for non-medical staff to administer them and happy to accept we will not have the ability to ask for compensation if we face damage to our health.

    They are going to say, you agreed to it (because no one saw this #Consultation request to share their opinion of course), this request is not being seen by many and has not been promoted widely enough.

    Please don’t fall into apathy and then complain when it’s too late.

    NB: click on the photo and then look for the blue ‘respond on line’, click on the words to go to the right place to share your views on each aspect of the potentially harmful new law they want to pass.

    Please reshare this and make sure you contribute!


    • hefner
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Thanks for drawing attention to this.

    • Simeon
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Thank you for a genuinely important post

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Many thanks for posting this – I agree – we all need to give our views on this

      While I get several types of email on Gov consultations this one seems to have bypassed me.

  25. Original Chris
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Excellent video on youtube, and via Julia Hartley Brewer twitter with detailed analysis of all the global as well as UK data on COVID. Entitled:
    Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained

  26. Anonymous
    Posted September 12, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    The Government’s destruction of our economy renders Brexit a side show.

    Total economic collapse is going to be many more times as bad for the nation’s health than CV19.

    I despair of the businesses I see Boris Johnson destroying in my town.

    • steve
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink


      You think you could do better ?

  27. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 13, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Sir William Cash has been a beacon for truth about the EU for so long now … I hope he will be properly honoured when this is all over, along with those others that stuck their necks out to support the unpopular cause of showing the EU up for what it is.

    Sir William Cash was almost a lone voice in his disdain of the EU, and for many years it must have felt like a loosing battle — That he came up with this clause-38 shows his brilliance and integrity. He is a model of what an MP should be.

    It is a sad irony that those who tried to curtail our dash for freedom now try to muddy the water and want us to reject our sovereignty — they are the real traitors as history will confirm.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Bryan.
      A brilliant MP and a champion for the independence of this country.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 13, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      But his project failed.

      The European Union has not been destroyed by the UK’s leaving. Rather, it has been consolidated, invigorated, and freed from a ball-and-chain.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 13, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        His project hasn’t failed.
        We will leave the EU 31st December 2020

        I wish the EU well.
        I think it might do well after we leave.
        It is in the strategic interests of the UK that it succeeds.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted September 14, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        His ‘project’ as you call it was never to destroy the EU – but to free the UK from it’s clutches.

        That description of the EU – “invigorated” – some joke – get better glasses… and why are you still in the UK?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 14, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        absolute nonsense. The desparate cries of a failed point of view.

  • 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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