My contribution to the debate on the Internal Market Bill, 16 September 2020

Sir John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): I rise to support clauses 46 and 47 and to disagree with the Opposition amendments. It is a great pity that the SNP wishes to turn every debate in this House into a debate on independence when they lost the referendum, because, as a great democrat, I have only ever wanted willing volunteers in our Union. I was delighted to support a referendum to leave it to the Scottish people, and I trust their judgment—it is a pity others do not as well.

Clauses 46 and 47 take important powers to honour one of the pledges made by the Vote Leave campaign, and believed by many voters in that important referendum, that the United Kingdom Government should replace the moneys for projects and investments that would otherwise have been supplied through the European Union.

Taking this power illustrates that there is serious intent, that the Government will honour that promise of the referendum campaign, and that the United Kingdom will not lose—indeed, it will gain—as a result of changes in the arrangements for funding large projects and suitable investments.

I always thought that there were three problems with relying on the European Union to fund some of these projects. The first and biggest was that we had to send far more money to Brussels than we got back. One of the great advantages of this power is that every penny that taxpayers pay in the United Kingdom for these purposes will come straight back. There will not be a huge levy on top.

Alan Brown (Kilmarnock and Loudoun) (SNP): Taking away the semantics about money and all the rest of it, I am sure that the right hon. Member understands that when it comes to structural funds, the EU disburses it to managing authorities—so in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament gets the money from the EU to administer and carry out projects. Clause 46 allows the UK Government to bypass the Scottish Government completely. The EU has not forced one single infrastructure project on England, Wales or Scotland against the wishes of the sovereign Parliaments, but this measure allows the UK Government to bypass the Scottish Parliament and not to recognise the sovereign will of the Scottish people. Surely that is the problem.

John Redwood: I do not see any problem at all. I cannot for one moment believe that the United Kingdom Government would want to force on Scotland a project that Scottish people did not wish. Nor do I recognise this idea of the sovereign Scottish Parliament; it is completely under the power of the European Union until we have properly left. The hon. Gentleman never seems to recognise the ultimate power of the European Court of Justice and of the money-awarding procedures ​that we had to go through to extract back some of the United Kingdom money that we had to send in very large quantities to the union.

Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South and Penarth) (Lab): Of course, the right hon. Gentleman has never supported devolution. I think he described it in his own words as “appeasement” and said that we had had too much of it. I know he would love to go back to those days when he was Secretary of State for Wales and was treating Wales like a branch office. Is it not the truth that he has never supported devolution, that he does not support it now, and that he wants to ride roughshod over it?

John Redwood: No, most certainly that is not the point, and that is not my position. I am a democrat, and I have accepted completely the results of the referendums on devolution. It is quite true that I and my party were on the other side in the referendum on devolution. I believed that it would to lead to a big insurgence in unsuccessful Scottish nationalism, which is exactly what it did, and I do not think that that has enriched our public life any. However, I am a democrat and I fully accept the devolution settlement. I am very happy for the devolved authorities and Parliaments to exercise their powers. I also believe that we should co-operate fully with them, and I urge my Friends on the Front Bench to do so. Of course it is as much in our interests as it is in the interests of the Scottish Parliament to define the projects that Scotland most wants and that are most necessary to promote its prosperity.

Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran) (SNP): The right hon. Gentleman says he is a democrat. In view of that, does he acknowledge that the Sewel convention says that this Parliament will not normally legislate on areas or matters that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament? We also know that what is not reserved is automatically devolved, so does he think it appropriate to override the Sewel convention and threaten the powers and sovereignty of the Scottish Parliament without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, which is sovereign?

John Redwood: I do not accept that it does any of those things. I think we are legislating in a perfectly legal and sensible manner.

I shall go back to the remarks I wish to make as to why it is better that we pay for our own projects rather than doing so with the big discounts on our money through the European Union. The second reason for that is that some of the European schemes required the project to be a marginal one. Part of the terms of giving the money was that it was not a project we would finance for ourselves or not a core, essential project. That did not make a lot of sense. Once that is under United Kingdom control, we will obviously jointly wish to finance the best projects, and of course that will be in full consultation with the devolved Governments around the country.

The third reason that I think we will do better without European Union intrusion is the flagging of these projects. There has been deep resentment in the United Kingdom that whenever a small amount of money came from Europe into a project, it had to show the EU flag but we were not allowed to put a British flag on it to say that all the so-called EU money had actually come from United Kingdom taxpayers. Even worse, we were not even allowed to put a British flag on it to show that a larger ​proportion of the funding for the scheme had often come directly from the United Kingdom Government. It will be much better when we do not have to false-flag projects in the interest of misleading people about who is actually paying for something.

In this debate on the Bill generally, I know that the Opposition are still very exercised in thinking that these and other powers are illegal because they in some way violate the rules of international law set out in the EU withdrawal agreement. State aid is part of that argument, and these are the two central clauses on state aid. I would like to say that I disagree strongly with my right hon. Friend the Northern Ireland Secretary. I do not think there is any way in which this legislation violates international law. It clearly asserts and upholds United Kingdom law, most notably the sovereignty clause in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. That Act was a compromise agreement and a halfway house. It was attached to a political agreement to complete a proper negotiation in due course over our future relationship, so it was always rather problematic; because it was like that, it was ambiguous and contradictory. There are perfectly strong clauses in the EU withdrawal agreement and the EU (Withdrawal) Act stating that it is a duty that the single market and customs union of the whole United Kingdom, which expressly includes Northern Ireland, is upheld. That is exactly what this Bill is seeking to do.

The Government and many others hope that there will be a last-minute agreement, because it is quite easy to deal with all the outstanding legal issues in a comprehensive agreement. I am a bit sceptical that that is going to happen, because I see no evidence of good faith in negotiations by the European Union, and I think that, were there to be a breakdown, there would be a second legal argument that there had not been good faith. That is another reason why there is no sense in which we are seeking to break an international agreement, let alone the law.

I am very pleased that the Government are taking crystal clear powers to provide state aid and investment in projects. I hope the Government will also, ere long, issue a very strong statement of the United Kingdom’s state aid policy that should cover this and other matters. We owe it to the international community to have a strong, clear and independent state aid policy that is perfectly compliant with the World Trade Organisation rules on this matter, because we wish to be a global trader with more free trade agreements outside the European Union space. In that respect, we can probably do better than the European Union, because there have been a number of important cases where the European Union has been found to be in violation of state aid rules by the World Trade Organisation, and perhaps an independent Britain can do a bit better.

Stephen Farry (North Down) (Alliance): Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the comments emerging from Speaker Pelosi and others in the United States stressing that if there is any breach of the protocol in the withdrawal agreement—a threat to the Good Friday agreement—there will be no prospect of a trade deal with the United States? Is that not the fundamental flaw in the analysis of those pursuing a hard Brexit?

John Redwood: I am not pursuing a hard Brexit; I am pursuing the independence of our country which was voted on all too many years ago and which this Parliament, in a previous guise, deliberately blocked, delayed and diluted. I am very proud to belong to a Parliament that is now clearly charged, yet again, by the electorate of the United Kingdom to get on with it and deliver Brexit. The hon. Gentleman should recognise that Mrs Pelosi is not the President of the United States of America. It is the President who leads the negotiating teams for trade deals, and, as I understand it, President Trump and his International Trade Administration are very keen on a trade agreement with the United Kingdom and still negotiating on it. I suspect that the Democrats in the House of Representatives, who will have their own political reasons for what they are doing at the moment, have not quite understood just how important this Bill is for the future of the United Kingdom single market and customs union—because who would want to do a trade deal with the United Kingdom if we did not have this Bill and could not guarantee that we were pledging the whole of our market in the market opening that such a free trade agreement would require? This Bill is fundamental to any success in negotiations that we have with Japan, the United States, maybe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in due course, and so forth.

This is a vital piece of legislation to implement the independence of our country in a true Brexit. It is an entirely legal piece of legislation that reflects important statements in the withdrawal agreement and, above all, reflects a sovereignty clause in the EU (Withdrawal) Act that some of us supported and put in with the express purpose in mind that if there was no good faith from the EU we would need to make unilateral arrangements for our future trading. It is crucial for a country that wishes to have much more positive trade relations than the EU has had with a wide range of countries outside the European Union space.

I look forward to the state aid regime and investment regime being used in the interests of the whole country, with the United Kingdom being able to spend more of its own money on its own priorities, with good guidance and advice from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as we go along, but not forgetting the importance of England and the need for us to have good English projects as well. I hope that it will be twinned with an exemplar state aid policy for world trade purposes that may indeed be different from that of the European Union.

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113 Comments

  1. Peter
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I hope Boris is not going to start pulling back now.

    Talk of changes to mollify Tory rebels and concessions on fish are not what we want to hear.

  2. BW
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Well said Sir John.

  3. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    You make me proud of our Parliament (even if a Scottish MP sitting in Westminster – why – thinks the ‘Scottish Parliament is sovereign😂), of our Party, our politics and of our country.
    We are not liars, we state our case openly and honestly and to flag projects to deceive people is ‘novel’ in the U.K. and therefore succeeds.
    I am literally delighted that Joe Biden has ruled the WA illegal and unacceptable to the USA as it overturns the Goof Friday Agreement. Well he might not know that that is the result of his statement in support of the Good Friday Agreement, but like Andy and MiC these socialists often make our case for us.

    • bill brown
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Lynn Atkinson,

      Another of oyur well informed conributions, which is entirely fake news.
      Your interpretation of Biden’s words on WA is your own internal construed interpretation. Like so many of your contributions. The latest being about Sweden and warfare and closed borders to DK and NOR. (more fake news)

  4. glen cullen
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Am I right in saying that clauses 46 & 47 and probably the whole Internal Markets Bill is irrelevant if the government walk away from talks on the 15th October and go the WTO route – is the governments deadline of the 15th October fixed ?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Yes! And that is the only path out fo this. If Boris interferes he will mess up for sure. He need to ‘self-isolate’.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      let us hope so.

  5. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Your wasting your breath debating with the nationalists. They don’t understand that the EU is in control but of course that’s fine

    Perhaps you should give them a vote on independence stressing that there will be no bailout from England.
    Why is Boris watering down the Internal Market bill with such a big majority.
    It will smoke out the diehard remainiacs for destruction at the next election.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Concur – Boris needs to stand, in fact will anybody (apart from our host) in the Tory Party stand form

      Hold – the – Line

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        +1 you can see why only JR in 10 will save us.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, debating with English nationalists is indeed a waste of time.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Welsh nationalists?
        Scottish nationalists?
        Northern Irish Nationalists?
        Barbadian nationalists?
        All lovely and fine I expect.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        The Scots are going to absolutely LOVE their independence from the English.

        The truth is that we haven’t been allowed a debate.

        A Scot’s child is going to be several hundreds of thousands better off than mine (free tuition fees, unaffected inheritance, free prescriptions…)

        Yet again Martin ignores all sorts of tolerance from the English.

  6. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    A good point that having a complete UK single market makes us MORE attractive to other countries with whom we are trying to conclude trade deals, not less attractive.

  7. Stred
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    These Scot Nats really are a pain in the backside. Let the English vote on independence, cut them loose, stop the subsidies, cut off their excessive wind generated electricity and have less wind in the H o C.

  8. agricola
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Very well put, and thank you for putting Ms Pelosi in context.
    As you say in more constrained words, the SNP has become a boring political shrew.

  9. DOM
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    A free United Kingdom but its majority population subject to a political and social experiment designed to destroy our world

    A huge thanks to the Tory party for sacrificing our freedoms for party gain

    We can see your party’s new identity. You are no longer the party of freedom, Thatcherism and national identity

    The poison of the Frankfurt School’s ideology has seeped into the very bowels of the British State and indeed the Tory party

    Don’t expect a pat on the head. The Tories are no patriots, far from it. Patriotism is a mere political tool to be used once every five years

    Kathy Gynell over at Con. Woman can smell your party a mile away and the stench of your capitulation to Cultural Marxism is overwhelming

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      We ran ‘The Campaign for Conservatism’ in the ‘90s. Where were you then? We have been fighting for the heart for the Party for nearly 40 years, what do you do – snipe at us a every opportunity. Thanks. Helpful.

  10. Edwardm
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Very good points made by JR.
    Just wish certain other MPs had the desire to support the UK everywhere rather than the EU.

  11. ChrisS
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    A very well crafted contribution to the debate and one with which I can wholeheartedly agree.

    The SNP are such a one-issue party that their judgement on each and every matter is tainted by their obsession with Independence. They are no more than a disrupted sideshow at Westminster and the quality of their nominated MPs is visibly inferior to those from other parties. Blackford in particular is deeply unimpressive.

    It has been sadly very obvious for some time that the United Kingdom will never be able to move forward as one until the festering boil of Scottish independence has been lanced once and for all. In my view and with a heavy heart, Boris should allow another independence referendum which, given the parlous state of Scottish economy and the nationalist’s inability to answer fundamental questions of deficit reduction, governance and currency, the SNP will almost certainly lose – again.

    The second vote should be allowed only on condition that there will not be another for at least 30 years, and that this would have to be enshrined as part of the legislation and agreed, in advance by all sides.

    Should the Nationalists win, there will be little or no damage to England – only Scotland will be the loser. But, should the nationalists fail, it should thankfully finish the SNP off for good.

    Scottish politicians can then adopt a more normal relationship with both voters and the rest of the UK.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      +1

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I’m no politician but that strikes me as being superb!
    How on earth to stand up in Parliament…Get interrupted rather nastily and then seamlessly resume one’s thread! Wooooo! Masterly I reckon.
    And I think we will have a lot of our own little flags all over the UK?
    Lovely!

  13. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    You have got your brexit. The UK has left, and it now has no representation in any European Union institution.

    What the UK is now pursuing are post-exit arrangements with a very large, rich, united trading area, that geographically adjoins it, and encompasses it for about two hundred and seventy degrees, in the hope of preserving – well you’d imagine so – as much of the large part of the UK economy which had developed over decades as a closely integrated part of that.

    You can go about that in a very silly way if you like, or you can try showing some sense for a change.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t feel like we’ve left – we’re still paying the EU our monthly membership fee

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      ‘Rich’! Are you actually around the bend?

  14. XYXY
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Well said.

    One important point re Pelosi.

    The Canada-EU trade deal is an example where the treaty has not been ratified (formal process) but it is in force, in that both parties are actually operating its provisions. So if Pelosi wants to block the passage of the deal for a while, so be it, the UK and US can simply start working to whatever agreement they forge.

    As you say, she is not the President of the US and has very limited power in this regard to do much more than make a noisy nuisance of herself.

  15. agricola
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    In the realm of I told you so, for which I enjoy no pleasure, the Austrians are inorgorating their first hydrogen powered train today. Can we back out of the cul de sac of batterification of all personal transport and much public transport for an infinitely more flexible hydrogen future. I find it embarassing for the UK to be trailing where technical progress is concerned.

  16. wab
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    So now being a “Conservative” means that (a) you will happily break international law; and (b) you think it is a good idea for government (i.e. Dominic Cummings) to pick which companies are winners and losers. So much for the party of law and order, and of the free market.

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    You are quite right in all the above – as usual. If only more people had listened to you over the years.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      +1 let’s start now?

  18. ukretired123
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Just to say what an Excellent speech Sir John!
    Lucid simply put and razor sharp positively therapeutic.
    Thank you very much for your lifelong contribution to raise the standards of Parliament.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      +1

  19. Tabulazero
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your kind contribution to Scottish Independence.

    You are providing the SNP with gold.

    • Arminius
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 2:24 am | Permalink

      They have to fund their currency somehow.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      The Scots will NEVER vote for independence.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        but I would !

  20. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you and well said

    It is just a pity about all the partisan pettiness that has nothing to do with anything other than the egos involved.

    Maybe the SNP should for-go their additional payments under the Barnett Formula and accept equal representation in the UK Parliament. Then you would see an equal democracy. Of course if their constituents want to tread their fully independent path, I would wish them well and not bear any sort of grudge – that’s democracy. It is just a pity their overlords in the EU don’t share similar views.

  21. Richard1
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    it is a pity no govt ministers have so far managed such an articulate defence of what they are doing. Why Brandon Lewis is still in office is a mystery, unless his assertion is a device to make sure no court can subsequently claim parliament was unaware of a potential breach of international law.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      We must change the MINISTERS!

  22. Ian @Barkham
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of the need for the ‘Internal Market Bill’ was to protect the UK if the EU reneges on its own pledges in the WA?

    At the moment the way the EU red lines are reported suggests it is they that are trying to ensure the UK stays bound by EU control, which is the complete opposite of the WA statement recognising Sovereignty and expediting a FTA with the UK. It is also appears as if it is the EU is sacrificing the Belfast(Good Friday) agreement, by insisting that NI remain part of the EU – something dumb along the lines that it preserves their internal market.

    • bill brown
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Ian@Barkham

      You are out on one of your loose fake news again. The Eu had made it very clear they wish to support and develop the Friday agrement further, by keeping an open border between the Republlic and NI.

      Why are you running with all these fake rumours

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

        Bull, the Good Friday Agreement was all about keeping the border between the North and the South. Only you and `Biden are unaware of that😂😂 and your little mantra of ‘fake news’ is amusing. This is not ‘News’ – is years old. Read it – if you can.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        There is a border now.
        There is even a TV programme about the work of Customes Officers on both sides.
        They are shown stopping vehicles not properly registered for use in the south having been bought in the north.
        They even impound vehicles for not having paid the duty owed.
        There are different rates of tax on cars and other things like cigarettes and alcohol.
        Farm animals have checks if they move across the border.
        If the EU want a to build a wall they better start soon.

  23. Harper
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Bend it any way you like John, it’s called spin, but we are in right trouble now-

  24. formula57
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Well said!

    What has all the fuss been about?

  25. 'None of the above'.
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I watched you, and others, live and very enjoyable it was too.
    The comments made about Nancy Pelosi et al have only served to reinforce my view that the NI protocol was written partly to cultivate a desire for a border poll. I know that may sound cynical to some but almost every tack employed by remainers proves that they are more interested in supporting the EU than UK and it was always seen by many in the Republic of Ireland and in the EU that “losing Northern Ireland was a price to be paid by the UK for leaving the EU”.
    As far as I was concerned, the cat was out of the bag from that moment that was said.
    Keep up the good work.

  26. Anthony
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Could you provide an update in light of Biden’s recent comments?

    I don’t think it’s especially worrying, actually, but it does cut across your argument we need not worry about Pelosi’s comments because it is the president that negotiates trade deals.

    • matthu
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Am I right in thinking that if there were a prolonged stand-off after election day with no clear winner (e.g. as a result of widespread chaos because of postal votes being challenged in court etc.) a situation could result where Pelosi (leader of the House) takes over day to day running of the government…

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        No.

  27. William Webster
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    To be brief : Bravo !

  28. Original Richard
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    “I was delighted to support a referendum to leave it to the Scottish people, and I trust their judgment—it is a pity others do not as well.”

    The SNP never say they wish for the “Scottish people” to have a second independence referendum vote.

    They always say “the people living in Scotland” for they wish to rig the vote by allowing any person of any nationality – EU nationals, ME and African nationals, Chinese, Russians etc., to have a say in whether or not Scotland leaves the UK.

    And not allow Scottish ex-pats living elsewhere in the UK or abroad a vote.

  29. Stephen Priest
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    It will be all for nothing unless the Government stops all this lockdown talk.

    Dr Mike Yeadon: ‘Government are using a Covid-19 test with undeclared false positive rates.’

    The former scientific advisor at Pfizer, Dr Mike Yeadon, has reissued his challenge to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock regarding the coronavirus testing.

    You must view this interview on Talk Radio with Julia Hartley Brewer and pass it on. The Government a killing this country for nothing

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      I just listened to it – all the government and PM should too. Dr Yeadon is and former chief scientific advisor to Pfizer. He seems to see it exactly as I do.

      Many people were not very or even not at all susceptible in the first place, there is no likelihood of a second wave. The increased positives are largely due to false positives and increased testing. All the evidence (other than this testing with false positives) suggests the pandemic is essentially all but over. More deaths are now being caused by the measures taken than by the virus.

      The test system being used (with its amplification system) is rather vulnerable to false positives.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 17, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        No likelihood of a ‘serious’ second wave I meant.

        • villaking
          Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          Too late. You were arguing for the sacrifice of freedom for what you imagined might be some temporary risk reduction. Our freedoms are not coming back now

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            Indeed the initial lockdown was sensible and saved lives though it was done too late.

          • glen cullen
            Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            195 countries x est 25 cabinet ministers = 4,875

            4875 people controlling the world population of 7.8 billion

            I think they like their new power

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            ….without a fight? In which case there will be a fight, we will have our freedom and God help anyone who stands in our way.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Well frankly this would be madness even if it were the Black Death.
      And it isn’t just this country.
      It must be in order to comply with a blueprint for the future hatched by UN etc etc.
      There has to be an ulterior motive.

    • rose
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      I have recently seen Greg Clark and his committee colleague Dawn Porter roughing up Lady Harding. She stood up to it well and twice said “That is not true.”

      On top of the bullying rudeness and aggression, there were repeated questions she had already answered, and false statements. Mistaking himself for a Today Programme presenter, he asked all the wrong questions. Nothing about false positives and nothing along the lines of: “These tests cost £100 a go. We have 70 million people at least in this country and the test result is already out of date on the way home. It is not predictive. How can it be justified?”

      Instead we got the usual BBC line, hectoring, and demanding more and more, even though we are testing more people per 100,000 than anyone else bar Israel – and they only have 9 million people.

      • rose
        Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        It emerged Lady Harding is doing all this for nothing. Not just the only Conservative Quangocrat, which is why it is open season on her, but the only unpaid one.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      +1 Dr Yeadon is surely quite right!

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Dido Harding has got to go and go quickly, this is ridiculous.

    As for JRM in parliament on testing thats probably the most ill advised set of things to say I have ever heard, thats like bragging to the starving that food production is marvelous.

  31. DavidJ
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Blair’s devolution was a complete and unnecessary mess with the ultimate intent of breaking up the Union in accordance with the EU’s plans for us all.

    It needs to be reversed; the Scots are already over represented in the Westminster Parliament despite having their own parliament.

    Let’s keep the UK united and eliminate the risk of Sturgeon’s continually trying to poach it for the EU and her own ends.

    • bill brown
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      DavidJ

      Thank you but your proposal is an illusion and devolution is here to stay.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        Your EU and all it nasty destruction is going. Our union is a happy one and voluntary, your Union is under duress.

        • margaret howard
          Posted September 18, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          Lynn

          “Our union is a happy one…”

          No it isn’t! Nothing that is brought about at the end of a gun by a bullying neighbour can ever last.

  32. Jiminyjim
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, Dr Yeadon is challenging the government on much the same basis as my comments yesterday. Can we, Sir John, have your assurance that you will be taking up these most important issues with the government? There is no debate about this in the media at all (other than Julia Hartley-Brewer) and I agree with Matthu yesterday when he said that this has all the elements of a scandal

  33. The Prangwizard
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I saw only half of your speech unfortunately missing the SNP and Welsh Lab interventions. I am not a patient individual and the skill and controlled emotion with which you deal with such attitudes is something I wish I could acquire.

    I hope that in 2021 attention will be turned to settling the matter of English democracy. We cannot go on pretending the deep fundamental problem can be deferred again. We should not have any more talk of devolution to Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland. They are said to be getting another 70 headings now.

    England must not be ignored any longer. No more internal devolution to the ‘regions’ which should not exist. Nor to mayors whose roles should be abolished. We already have a county system.

    A true English parliament must be set up as a first priority in helping to rebuild ourselves. We need unambigous English Ministers and an English administration. No more nonsense of present ministers deciding that they are ‘English’ for a few days as now. Even so they hide it as much as possible. The English need a clear identity, the others have had decades to build theirs at our expense. It must stop.

  34. bill brown
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Most of the principles and politics of state enterprises in the EU were proposed by the UK. (Economist Aug 2020) as we have had both the successes and failures over many years.

    S o our policy on state intervention will most likely be very similar to the model used by the EU today.

    So, this big difference that you are talking about In Parliament, after Brexit might most likely actually not be the case

    • Edward2
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Well if you are correct why does Barnier feel this is an important feature of current negotiations?

      • bill brown
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Edward 2

        these are linked to the competition laws and state aid laws in each EU country

        • Edward2
          Posted September 18, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          You said our policy on state aid to businesses will very similar to the EU model.
          So I cannot see why it is a red line for Barnier.

          The EU cannot stop any other nations doing what they want to help their industries.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      This only makes sense when you understand that ‘our’ means German Europe in your tirades.

  35. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Nice comments

    The EU have been busy winding up Pelosi… She was primed to say what she said… as were several ex-PM’s

    Providing the American elections proceed without too many riots and corrupt Democrat practices are held at bay, Pelosi will not be Speaker after November… But we should watch that scene carefully…. If riots and so forth instigated by the American socialists succeed, which plan to make it impossible to confirm Trump is re-elected, then we are all in trouble.

    • bill brown
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris

      Biden has made just as clear as Pelosi and so have influencial members of the European committee in Congress, so your statement on Pelosi does ot amount to much assuming it is true.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        No Democrat in the US is ‘influential’ after the destruction they have unleashed on the poorest. Black Americans will vote Republican in numbers! Trump will will a resounding victory. Get used to it.

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted September 18, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          ++

    • Fred H
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      remember Obama’ the quote ‘UK will be at the back of the line’.
      Not difficult to get Americans to help out.

  36. margaret howard
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    JR

    “It is a great pity that the SNP wishes to turn every debate in this House into a debate on independence when they lost the referendum…”

    Yet again you fail to mention that this referendum took place BEFORE the disastrous Brexit referendum when the Scots voted overwhelmingly to REMAIN. This makes it essential that another independence vote it carried out with, I’m sure, an entirely different outcome.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      Moreover, the result was based on the “Pledge”, which the Tories shredded before the last votes were even counted.

      And John accuses the European Union of “bad faith”.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Shredded?
        There was the Smiths Commission which led to the Scotland Bill.
        Analysts from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre said the extra powers given in that bill would make Holyrood one of the most economically devolved Parliaments in the world.

    • steve
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      MH

      “This makes it essential that another independence vote it carried out with, I’m sure, an entirely different outcome.”

      Include the English vote and the outcome certainly will be different.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Strangely the SNP want to be totally independent but after that, they want to give away their independence to the EU

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      MH. Just think. If the SNP are successful with their independence and rejoin the EU you can go and live there.

  37. James
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    It does not matter now how this new bill fares in the House the fact is that it was intended and is a sign to the EU that we are not acting as we should. They are the ones standing still we are the ones leaving and then trying to rejoin in a different way. But it has been clearly demonstrated that having our cake and eating it is not on the table so the brains behind all of this chaos Dom is still not content and now is intent on burning the house down Steve Bannon style and ERG types including the PM are happy to follow.

    Hard to imagine that an unelected high brow advisor to our PM is calling the shots while so many Tory MP’S in the House are cowed and we call this taking back control.

  38. glen cullen
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    UK daily summary Thursday 17th September
    (source: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk)

    Tested – 236,219
    Negative – 232,824
    Positive – 3,395 (1.4%)

    Patients admitted to hospital – 134 (daily ave.)
    Deaths – 21 (0.000030%)

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      So 98.6% of tested people tested negative – why are so many getting tested without symptoms and why are we testing people weekly regardless of whether they have symptoms or not but rather by occupation

      Utter madness – the testing service should only be for sick people to confirm they have covid-19

      Testing isn’t a cure

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Good points. The government should now cap testing capacity -and abandon MOONSHOT. The problem that does need solving is at-airport testing, so the air-travel industry can get back to work.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and what is the false positive rate? 1.3% of the 1.4% perhaps?

  39. Paradiso
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    You were slapped down by the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish, who brilliantly pointed out the hypocrisy of your desire to use Brexit to weaken our internal devolution settlements, and reminded too that the Americans will deepen still further your English isolationism if you persist with this violation of international law. Quite a day!

    • steve
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Paradiso

      “…. if you persist with this violation of international law.”

      Considering internal domestic law of a sovereign state trumps international law, perhaps you would care to explain how we are in breach of international law. Or have you been watching too much telly ?

      • Paiu
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Internal domestic law does not trump international law. The reverse is true

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      Whore ourselves to China instead of the US then.

      What does it matter ? We’re getting Marxism either way.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      While many are saying the UK needs to keep out of others countries business isn’t it time to let us get on with our own without interference from others? This is OUR country.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      The Scot seemed to be under the illusion that the ‘Scottish Parliament’ was Sovereign! Why did she think she was sitting in Westminster in that case? Had God not got there before her, she would have made a right fool of herself! 😂😂
      How JR has the patience to tolerate these childish interventions is unfathomable! But then the SNP are in Westminster in such numbers because Scotland wanted to deprive Labour of the seats to deny Cameron the victory and they therefore trapped Cameron into DELIVERING the Referendum he promised.
      Thank you Scotland! Your critical contribution to Brexit is noted and appreciated, as is the massive contribution from NI with their 10 MPs critical in thwarting May and the great people of Wales, who voted to LEAVE! This is a United Kingdom for Leave!

  40. steve
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    JR

    Rt Hon Stephen Farry –

    “…..comments emerging from Speaker Pelosi and others in the United States stressing that if there is any breach of the protocol in the withdrawal agreement—a threat to the Good Friday agreement—there will be no prospect of a trade deal with the United States?”

    Could it not be that we could suggest to Ms Pelosi, and Mr Biden for that matter, that we could always cancel F35 and all other contracts, and remind the pair that the US has actually never won a war in which Britain was not involved.

    Perhaps doing so could give the pair a different perspective when it comes to poking their noses in our internal affairs and threatening us.

    Re SNP, all I have to say is cut them loose so they can join the EU and adopt the Euro. Then when it all goes wrong and they come back with another begging bowl- simply slam the door on their faces. Had enough of their disrespectfulness quite frankly.

    • Will in Hampshire
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      So I wonder if our host might comment on how the sentiments expressed in Steve’s post align (or don’t) with his membership of the Conservative & Unionist Party.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      We may as well reopen dealings with China then.

  41. Freeborn John
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    It is very disappointing to see Tory MPs undermine the government in negotiations and the U.K. government, despite a very large majority, climbing down to the small number of malcontents. This will only be interpreted in Brussels as weakness of resolve by Boris Johnson and encourage them to hold fast to their grossly unreasonable demands. There
    is no point appeasing Remainer MPs ; they need to be rooted out of Parliament like the 21 in the last parliament.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Freeborn John,

      And what looks likely from the Lords – sovereignty potentially blocked by no democracy.

  42. Not Bob
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    The Government a killing this country for nothing

    ….
    Not for nothing, but a great global communist fascist utopia.

    • glen cullen
      Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Its starting to look that way – welcome to the brave new world

  43. Derek Henry
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Port Talbot – Steel is a great example.

    Rather than putting forward ideas about how Port Talbot would become the beacon for a modern market system that can recover from the inevitable failure of businesses, Labour went to their default ‘nationalise’ position. It was perhaps a credible angle to take – if we had an independent UK at that time – but in our current situation the rhetoric just highlights the conflicted position Labour has on the EU. A neoliberal lawyer in charge that would do anything the EU asked him to do. He should be the leader of the liberal democrats not the Labour party.

    You can’t blame Chinese steel for the problem because the EU commission spent eighteen months investigating the situation and decided that a ~16% ‘anti-dumping’ tariff on Chinese steel was sufficient to make it cost equivalent to EU steel. So the problems with Port Talbot was either endemic due to its lack of competitiveness, or the problems are with the EU commission making a mistake on their calculations.

    You couldn’t really blame the Tories for ‘blocking’ higher tariffs, because they didn’t. What they did is refuse the transfer of more ex officio powers to the EU commission – because they don’t need them. For the ‘lesser duty’ rule to have any impact there has to be a ‘lesser duty’ calculated in the first place. Which the EU commission did – at 16%. The question should be, again, why was that tariff at 16% and why has no EU commission tariff ever been applied retrospectively.

    The Tories accepted the ‘blocking’ line on the chin, because being Europhiles themselves at the time they couldn’t really draw attention to the huge tariff cock up at the unelected EU commission that is decimating the steel industry across the EU. Nor the clear grab for power from the EU commission – which wanted ex officio powers to apply tariffs even if no complaint had been received from a resident on a member state.

    What’s really funny is that the change was opposed by 14 out of the 28 EU member states, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmarks, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. Yes that’s half the states in the union. You would have struggled to find that in any of the media reports.

    If you’re an EU fan, then you can’t really call the UK steel industry strategic. The EU is the second largest manufacturer of steel on the planet. There is plenty of ‘strategic’ supply within the union even if Port Talbot goes. Saying UK manufactures need a UK steel works is like saying English manufacturers need an English steel works because they can’t rely on the Welsh.

    Outside the EU all this would be moot. The UK government could respond to the latest Chinese tariffs directly and rapidly without 18 month investigations and on a basis that covers UK businesses from unfair competition and reinforces our green tariffs on energy use. All while sticking to the letter of the WTO rules, if not the spirit – just as everybody else does.

    Outside the EU nationalisation would likely be a foregone conclusion – to allow restructuring at the very least. Inside the EU it is virtually impossible because it is severely discouraged by the treaty and the commission. Many Europhile labour supporters desperately tried to show that the treaty allows nationalisation, but the decisions of the ECJ and the view of the EU commission are against that interpretation

    Margrethe Vestager, competition commissioner, announced an investigation into €2bn of state support that the Italian government gave to the struggling steelmaker Ilva. On the same day, she ordered the Walloon regional government in Belgium to recoup €211m provided to steel companies in the country’s depressed industrial southern regions that are part of the Duferco group.

    In its statement at the time, the commission declared flatly that “EU state-aid rules do not allow public support for the rescue and restructuring of companies in difficulty in the steel sector”. This was “to ensure a level playing field for those steelmakers that have already been carrying out painful and costly restructuring plans funded through private resources.

    You can’t really get clearer than that. Professor Danny Nicol has put forward numerous articles showing how embedded neoliberalism is within the EU treaty and that those on the left believing otherwise are largely deluding themselves. There are less emotional counter-arguments, which end up being about trying to put a square peg in a round hole just to try and placate the EU commission. That is going to be very difficult when the EU commission is flat against what you are trying to do. So again the Labour party is tying its hands by backing the EU and ends up getting into contradictory positions that simply cannot be resolved.

    Moreover saving jobs in steel in Wales means that the worldwide over-production of steel continues, and that the jobs must be lost elsewhere. How does that sit with internationalism and ‘solidarity’? There is no plan to increase the demand for steel by building steel using things (except Trident, but that can’t use the steel made in the UK because it apparently isn’t the right quality.)

    Port Talbot was a warning on many levels that we have no mechanism in place to handle obsolescence, failure or de-growth either on a regional or national level. And it is a warning that centralised EU level responses just don’t address the problem at all. In steel the EU has utterly failed its people, and then used the crisis as an excuse for a power grab. Quite outrageous.

    The problems at Port Talbot are probably terminal for the 100 year old plant. The usual British issue of lack of investment in skills and automation to produce higher quality products bites again. Automation costs jobs, and UK manufacturing is often reluctant to take the risk if it means a redundancy round. So they muddle on until the whole thing finally collapses as other countries build new plants with the automation built in. Port Talbot was a combined plant and hopefully parts of it could be saved to work with imported steel, but it may be the case the whole thing is doomed. Certainly anybody who looked at the books walked away and that suggests there are serious issues.

    It’s very difficult to maintain a low technology steel making plant if you are not next to the source of ore and coal. The virgin steel plants in the UK can’t even use the ore that remains in the ground in the UK, and have relied upon imported ore for many years (hence why most of the remaining virgin plants are near, or at a port). There is no arguing with the economics – a boat load of steel is less costly than a boat load of iron ore plus a boat load of coal.

    In the UK our steel industry needs to be scrap recyclers and formers for the hot products, which likely need to be somewhere on the main transport intersections, and cold formers at the ports. That is likely sustainable. You would need detailed input from industry and market specialists to work out the best structure than can actually compete in a global market. State aid will be required and we do not need to wait 6 months to get a verdict from a ECJ judge. We just get on with it.

    We would likely be better reshaping the plants and the people into what we need in the future. It does work. Some of the best IT engineers are ex-steel workers from Sheffield. They were never afraid of a hard days work and certainly never missed the steel plant they had left behind. But that would require admitting that higher value ‘service’ jobs exist that ex-steel workers are very suitable for.

    And it would require finally admitting that there simply are insufficient jobs to go around, that the private sector is structurally incapable of providing them and that we need a Job Guarantee scheme to fill in the gap. A guarantee that gives people the opportunity to retrain, all while maintain demand automatically in areas currently with high unemployment. We need a system where people can move around jobs and expect to move around jobs, but where the risk of doing so is reduced to an acceptable level by a more equal income structure, better pension and housing provision and a superior auto-stabilising social security system.

    If we are to persist with a market system, then we have to have a market containment vessel that expects failure to happen and controls for it and where state aid is very useful.

    How many more industrial collapses are required before the lessons are learned? A job guarentee scheme allows for the job losses while we change and quickly adapt to new global markets. It is a fantastic auto stabiliser that keeps prices and taxes low. Supports the private sector with high levels of aggregate demand while we make the changes to industry we need to make.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      It didn’t help that UK taxpayer money was transferred to the EU so they could subsidise the EU plants at the expense of UK production.

      The same happened with Jaguar Land Rover, the EU is subsidising them to move production from the UK to mainland Europe. UK plant closure, UK jobs lost. UK pays for it.

      The add in the CAP, the most corrupting trade weapon invented, it seeks to destroy third world countries before they get of the ground.

      Its a one sided, lopsided grasp for control so as to wield power.

  44. glen cullen
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    But we aren’t all one country – different flag, language, politics, law and holidays…you get my point

  45. Ian@Barkham
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, is it now time to get rid of the on elected club in the upper house, that because of ego fight democracy and the will of the people. If we dare to call ourselves a democracy the House of Lords proves we are not

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Yes it ‘must go and not be replaced’. Unless it’s an inherited title, all titles must be removed too. The poor appointments must not be able to ‘Lord it over us’.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted September 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  47. Ian
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Well spoken Sir John

  48. Adam
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    The EU presenting itself as a benefactor with other people’s money exposes their sham.

  49. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Scotland is a nation which, in the Act of Union, joined with England, Wales and Ireland. It ha the right to rescind that Treaty. London is an integral part of England, indeed the hub. It has no right to ‘leave itself’.

  50. Fred H
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Catalonia hasn’t managed it.

  • 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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