Letter to the Prime Minister from the European Scrutiny Committee Chair, Bill Cash

Please find below Bill Cash’s letter to the Prime Minister:

European Scrutiny Committee
House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
Tel (020) 7219 3292 Email escom@parliament.uk Website www.parliament.uk/escom

From: Sir William Cash MP

15 May 2023

Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

Change in Government policy on Retained EU Law and the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

Dear Prime Minister

On 21 July last year, after a five month inquiry, my Committee reported on the future of Retained EU Law (REUL). During our inquiry, we heard in evidence from 13 expert witnesses and the (then) Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon. Jacob Rees-Mogg MP.1 Shortly after we reported, the Government published the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL(R&R) Bill). The Government engaged with our work and we were pleased to see a number of our recommendations
given effect in the REUL(R&R) Bill.

Recent Government engagement and the Secretary of State for Business and Trade’s non-attendance before the Committee

This experience stands in stark contrast to our more recent engagement with the Government on the Bill. On 24 February, we invited the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Rt Hon. Kemi Badenoch MP, to give evidence to us on the Government’s progress on the REUL(R&R) Bill and its ‘Brexit opportunities’ work.2 We have written twice since, requesting her attendance before the Committee. On Thursday 11 May, I asked her on the floor of the House if she would appear before us, as did Rt Hon. David Jones M.

The Secretary of State is yet to commit to appear before the Committee. This state of affairs is unacceptable: Select Committees are vital to effective scrutiny and good law- and policy-making. A Select Committee should not be put in the position where it has asked a Secretary of State to appear five times to give evidence, over three months, without a clear commitment being forthcoming. The Secretary of State’s failure to appear has frustrated our work on REUL and Brexit opportunities, and is not an issue I would ever have expected to be raising with a Prime Minister.

This situation has taken on a more concerning hue in recent days. As you are aware, on Wednesday the Government tabled amendments in the Lords to the REUL(R&R) Bill. These amendments signal a significant change in the Government’s policy on REUL. The House was informed of this change in a Written Ministerial Statement on Wednesday afternoon and adequate explanatory materials, such as a White Paper, have not yet been forthcoming. This series of events was deemed so serious by Mr Speaker that he granted my Urgent Question (UQ) on the matter on Thursday morning. Save for my UQ, Members would not have had an opportunity to question the Secretary of State on the Government’s plans ahead of Lords Report Stage, which starts today. This approach to scrutiny is deeply concerning and a worrying parallel can be drawn with how the Government handled the Windsor Framework: a major policy announcement accompanied by artificially set deadlines with no meaningful opportunity for input by Members. We hope this is not a trend that will continue. Parliament and the scrutiny function entrusted to us by the electorate are too important to ride over roughshod.

On the content of the Government’s amendments to the REUL(R&R) Bill, we have serious concerns about: (i) the removal of the ‘sunset Clause’; (ii) the Schedule of REUL to be revoked; and (iii) the Government’s policy on REUL and its Brexit opportunities work. i. The removal of the ‘sunset Clause’ Clause 1 of the REUL(R&R) Bill, as introduced, would ‘sunset’ EU-derived domestic subordinate legislation and retained direct EU legislation on 31 December 2023. It would ensure that the majority of REUL would cease to exist on the domestic statute book as of the end of the year (unless specifically retained). The December 2023 sunset was justified by the Government as necessary to “accelerate reform and planning for future regulatory changes, benefitting both UK businesses and consumers sooner”. The Government also said upon the Bill’s publication:  HCWS764 [on Regulatory Reform Update], 10 May 2023 6 Explanatory Notes to the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill [Bill 156 (2022-23)—EN], para 17.

The sunset will increase business certainty by setting the date by which a new domestic statute book, tailored to the UK’s needs and regulatory regime will come into effect. Clause 2 of the Bill would allow the sunset to be extended beyond 31 December 2023 “ensuring the efficiency of the REUL revocation process should a lack of parliamentary time, or external factors, hinder progress towards reform of retained EU law prior to the 2023 sunset date”. The Government amendment tabled in the Lords on Wednesday would remove the default sunset clause and, by virtue of this change, also remove the ability for it to be extended. Instead, only legislation listed in the Schedule would be revoked.

In a letter to the Committee on 10 May, the Secretary of State stated that the removal of the Bill’s sunset would “provide certainty for business by making it clear which regulations will be removed from our statue book”. This argument and that justifying the sunset clause on the introduction of the Bill are mutually contradictory.

The Secretary of State has referred to the Bill as pursuing a policy of ‘preservation’ of REUL. This is wrong. The Bill, as drafted, would revoke all EU-derived subordinate legislation and retained direct EU legislation on 31 December, apart from that explicitly singled out to be saved. The Government’s amendments on Report in the Lords would preserve all 4,000
plus instances of REUL identified, minus those covered in the proposed new Schedule (600) and those instances to be dealt with elsewhere (e.g. the under the Financial Services and Markets Bill). A well-resourced REUL identification programme, which was promised by the Government in January last year, coupled with effective Ministerial oversight, would deliver the certainty business rightly demand and the effective and nimble post-Brexit statute book they have been promised. Clause 2 of the Bill was a sensible inclusion that could be exercised should progress towards the reform of REUL not be as quick as anticipated. It is unclear why this safety net is now deemed insufficient.

Letter from Rt Hon. Kemi Badenoch MP to Sir William Cash MP, 10 May 2023

ii. The Schedule of REUL to be revoked
The Government amendment tabled in the Lords would replace the clause 1 sunset mechanism with a Schedule of around 600 pieces of REUL to be revoked at the end of December this year. It is important to remember the reasons why the Bill was introduced. In its ‘Benefits of Brexit’ policy paper, the Government said “[we] will now prioritise areas where reform of retained EU law can deliver the greatest economic gain”.10 In her letter of 10 May, the Secretary of State says “the Government are committed to lightening the regulatory burden for businesses and helping to spur economic growth”. It is clear that the vast majority of instances of REUL to be revoked under the Schedule would do no such thing.

Our initial assessment shows that, almost without exception, the REUL detailed in the Schedule relates to matters that are trivial, obsolete and are not legally and/or politically important. Revocation of this REUL cannot be construed as lightening the regulatory burden for businesses or spurring economic growth. This is a worrying mischaracterisation and begs the question as to what the real purpose of the Schedule is. Examples of REUL that would be revoked under the Schedule include:
• temporary exemptions to repealed EU rules on limits to working hours for drivers during the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak;
• authorisation for EU Member States to ratify the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention;
• quota rules for the import of 8,000 tonnes of wheat bran originating in the ACP States into the French overseas territory of Réunion;
• rules on the allocation of fishing opportunities for the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe; and
• the setting of fishing opportunities for anchovy in the Bay of Biscay for the 2011/2012 fishing season (it is worth noting that in excess of 150 instances of REUL included in the Schedule relate to fishing).
iii. The Government’s policy on REUL and Brexit opportunities
The Government’s Benefits of Brexit paper was also clear that REUL would be reviewed to meet the UK’s priorities, with a view to “unlocking growth” and making sure it is “tailor-made for the UK market”.

The policy paper was published in January 2022—almost a year and a half ago—and states “the Government will now prioritise areas where reform of retained EU law can deliver the greatest economic gain.”13 This task was deemed sufficiently important by the Government that a dedicated ‘Brexit opportunities unit’ was setup working out of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and charged with coordinating and setting the methodology for the identification of REUL across Whitehall. The REUL(R&R) Bill is the mechanism through which the Government’s Brexit opportunities work was to be delivered. We have been concerned since the start of the year that the Government’s Brexit opportunities work, including that identifying REUL, has not been progressing as promised. I restate our suggestion, which I made to the Secretary of State on 24 February, that the Government should appoint a REUL ‘Tsar’, tasked with ensuring the Government delivers on its commitments.

The Government must restate its plans for the substantive reform of REUL. This is necessary in light of the aforementioned uncertainty, the broad powers the Bill provides Ministers to amend REUL and the Government’s desire to provide clarity and certainty to businesses moving forward. We request a full update on the status of the Government’s Brexit opportunities work, the areas it is prioritising for reform through the Bill, and when these changes are now scheduled to take place. We also ask you to ensure the appearance of the Secretary of State before the Committee in good time.

I request a response to this letter as a matter of urgency, owing to the Government scheduling Report Stage of the REUL(R&R) Bill in the Lords for today and Wednesday.

I am copying this letter to the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Rt Hon. Kemi Badenoch MP.




  1. Mark B
    May 17, 2023

    Good morning.

    We have been concerned since the start of the year that the Government’s Brexit opportunities work . . .


    . . . that the Government should appoint a REUL ‘Tsar’, tasked with ensuring the Government delivers on its commitments.


    We also ask you to ensure the appearance of the Secretary of State before the Committee in good time.

    I request a response to this letter as a matter of urgency . . .

    Reading between the lines and seeing the recommendation that a ‘Tsar’ need to be appointed, I’d say the Secretary of State for Business and Trade is clearly not up to the job.

    Another one who needs to get off the Merry-Go-Round

    1. Lemming
      May 17, 2023

      NO, the Secretary of State is doing a good job in trying to minimise the harm caused by the calamitous disaster that is Brexit. We would all be better off if Mr Cash’s demands to scrap laws with no cost-benefit analysis at all were rejected. Firmly

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 18, 2023

        Better off how?

    2. NottinghamLadHimself
      May 17, 2023

      Having a group called The European Scrutiny Committee in the UK Tories is akin to having one called say, The Landscape Appreciation Society in a coal mine.

      Thanks for the chuckle.

      1. a-tracy
        May 17, 2023

        As for Landscapre Appreciation Society in a coal mine, bit of daft analogy, lots of our natural landscape was damaged by mining. World Counts says: As part of the process of clearing the way for a coal mine, trees are cut down or burned, plants uprooted and the topsoil scraped away. This results in the destruction of the land (it can no longer be used for planting crops) and soil erosion.
        Study smarter: ‘Many negative impacts can result from mining activities. Some examples include climate change, deforestation/habitat destruction, pollution, soil erosion, human-wildlife conflict, and the loss of biodiversity.’

        So I’d say its almost critical using your analogy that this is done to ensure it is done properly in accordance with Brexit manifesto promises by the government elected with a majority in 2019.

        1. Original Richard
          May 17, 2023

          a-Tracy :

          Coal mining and usage has saved our forests. By the end of the 18th century we were running out of forest for the wood needed for building and fuel. Coal, a far denser and better energy source meant iron, steel and concrete could be used for buildings and used for fuel. As a result reforestation has taken place in the U.K. since the start of the Industrial Revolution. The CO2 emissions have also helped the growth of forests everywhere.

          1. a-tracy
            May 18, 2023

            Fair point thank you

      2. Mickey Taking
        May 17, 2023

        Its more kin to a Safety in Coal Mines group going in to check for White Damp. Who knows what death is in store for the unwary!

      3. Peter
        May 17, 2023

        I have just discovered the Danny Kruger reference from the Times radio interview in previous posts.

        Sir John Redwood was sensible to give that issue a swerve. It’s nothing to do with ‘paganism’ or narcissism’, though that might make an interesting line of discussion for the interviewer. It was a speech outlined in ‘The Spectator’ stating that marriage is the bedrock of society.


        (If there is a paywall just copy it into archive.is to view.)

        Having been schooled in Catholic grammar school, nobody in the class had divorced parents though some pupils had a parent who died. So anything outside that norm was definitely ‘other’ and this would apply to similar groups for whom family is a bedrock. Sadly this does not apply in modern politics with arguments about gender and pandering to various outliers.

        Another symptom of a society in decline.

        1. Mike Wilson
          May 17, 2023

          I went to a Catholic grammar school too. And, as you say, divorced parents were unheard of. People lived miserable lives trapped in marriages with people they had come to despise. That was a society in decline.

      4. acorn
        May 17, 2023

        EU Data Miners and Number Crunchers, are asking me; will the UK get rid of its fossil fuelled economy, before it gets rid of its fossilised MPs in Westminster. Place your bets.

  2. formula57
    May 17, 2023

    Lest anyone would like a cleaner formatted copy (showing footnotes) – https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/39953/documents/194883/default/

    1. Cuibono
      May 17, 2023


  3. formula57
    May 17, 2023

    So the letter reminds us “…a dedicated ‘Brexit opportunities unit’ was setup working out of the Department of Business…” – sometime after January 2022.

    If the government was at all serious about such opportunities, why was this not done in 2016? It does not care and wishes to retain as much Evil Empire law as it can, is that not so?

    1. Cuibono
      May 17, 2023

      Gradually, maybe since we won Brexit, parliamentary protocol has been sidelined, disobeyed and rubbished. Good grief, they even forced our democracy to shut down for the flu!!
      The very first slip should have been the time for swift action.
      Now the Speaker has to resort to public reprimand which eventually, what with all the ghastly liberal legislation the govt. has promoted….will not end well.
      Look what happened to Raab.

  4. Gardener
    May 17, 2023

    Laughable nonsense. Inward investment into the UK is crashing and, as we see today from Vauxhall, even existing firms are thinking of quitting the UK. Why? Because of the red tape and trade barriers caused by Brexit and because of the uncertainty caused by this crazed Bill. Why would anyone invest in the UK when the answer to the question “what are the laws that will apply to us?” Is “we have no idea, it depends what some Minister decides on a whim over thenext 18 months”. Well done Mr Sunak for facing down the Brexit ideologues

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      May 17, 2023

      Firms are leaving Europe, in particular Germany, because of the lack of energy and the Green Madness. Many would come to Britain BECAUSE of Brexit but we now also have a unilaterally declared Green Government – never elected.

      1. Mickey Taking
        May 18, 2023

        When was concreting over farmer fields, adding tarmac roads, installing Electric charging by digging up roads/pavements, importing more of everything because we discourage self sufficiency a green policy?

    2. DOM
      May 17, 2023

      Brexit isn’t an ideology but the factual outcome of a free and open vote for all British citizens.

      The US is a sovereign State so applying your logic it would seem those US citizen who want to see that continuing is also an ideologue. Sovereignty is not negotiable as we can see in Ukraine who fight to the death to preserve what politicians and bureaucrats now want to sacrifice

      It isn’t Brexit you despise but democracy. And why is this? Because people like you prefer control and imposition rather than accepting the outcome of a vote beyond political control

      Accept democracy or go and live in some despotic shithole like China, Vietnam or Laos

      1. Mark B
        May 18, 2023

        Here here !!

      2. Mickey Taking
        May 18, 2023

        that was succinct and scored a bullseye.

    3. Roy Grainger
      May 17, 2023

      Vauxhall want to avoid the rules of origin specifications which say that for export to EU 45% of the materials used in new cars must be sourced from UK or the EU. Seems reasonable, or do we want them to offshore even more of their manufacturing to the Far East ?

      1. Ian B
        May 17, 2023

        @Roy Grainger – that is an EU thing, if it does not have more than 45% EU or UK manufactured content then it is not a EU or UK product. This Conservative Government keeping in step with its EU masters just as with the EU themselves have shot themselves in the foot, as which ever way you try to spin it EV’s are Chinese. The UK is anti home grown production so will never comply. Its not even a Brexit thing its a Conservative Government thing thats has lasted 13 years.

        1. Ian B
          May 17, 2023

          @Ian B – the BBC is trying to blow this up as a Brexit thing. It would be the same inside or outside the EU if car manufacturers as in this case import mainly from China for 55% of the content of the product then it is not a EU or UK car. The battery alone is 40% of the content cannot be sourced in the EU or the UK, the production facilities just don’t exist(a bit like the electricity to charge the things).
          No amount of renegotiation can change the situation.
          Stellantis is obviously trying to Blackmail the UK taxpayer, forgetting this Conservative Government is anti even the idea of any sort of UK manufacturing – the ‘import is priority party’

      2. glen cullen
        May 17, 2023

        Should we give Vauxhall and Ford the vote ….they want to run UK policy

      3. British Patriot
        May 17, 2023

        Actually, the Rules of Origin should be much STRICTER. They should be at least 65% UK origin (not EU). After all, we should be encouraging MORE UK manufacturing, and that means encouraging more use of a UK supply chain. Stellantis would be happy to do this IF there were a UK supply chain there. The fact that there isn’t is because the government has failed to provide financial support for this. The US and EU are pumping billions into subsidies, but our cretinous and treacherous government is failing to match them. The solution to the problem is NOT to weaken the requirements, or scrap/amend Brexit, but simply to invest massively in building up a UK manufacturing industry!

      4. Mike Wilson
        May 18, 2023

        Indeed. Shame the batteries aren’t made here. All the big plans for battery factories lie in tatters because this government will NOT accept or support British industry.

      5. mancunius
        May 18, 2023

        You mean, because the EU invent a pettifogging import rule about the origin of every single component in a product – purely with the intention of restricting UK car imports in order to favour German manufacturers – that we have to give way to any foot-stamping, quisling UK-based but foreign-run manufacturers who want to force us to capitulate and rejoin the EU’s sclerotic single market?
        No, no, no! It would be economically preferable in the long run for Vauxhall to go bust, if they can’t use any creative initiative to sidestep the rule. There are at least three ways they can do that, and they know it too, so this is just them either trying it on, or being terminally thick.

    4. a-tracy
      May 17, 2023

      Stellantis N.V. is a multinational automotive manufacturing corporation formed in 2021 on the basis of a 50–50 cross-border merger between the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and the French PSA Group.,

      The company is obviously too big and feels very powerful now, they bought up so many van manufacturers who have doubled prices this year, cancelled orders and are holding up parts orders and warranty work for months on end they are causing problems in the UK and I’m wondering if it is on purpose now. Perhaps we need to open up negotiations with other van manufacturer competitors in China and Korea to keep jobs in the UK.

      1. mancunius
        May 18, 2023

        Exactly, a-tracy! It *is* on purpose.

    5. Denis+Cooper
      May 17, 2023

      “Inward investment into the UK is crashing”

      Not according to Ernst and Young six days ago:


      “The UK remains second in EY’s annual ranking of European countries by their ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects, according to the EY 2023 UK Attractiveness Survey, despite activity falling in 2022. France held onto top spot for total project numbers for a fourth consecutive year, although the UK once again ranked highest in Europe for new projects and continued to deliver more total jobs and jobs per project than Germany and France – trends consistent with the UK’s pivot in strategy to focus on value over volume when attracting FDI.”

    6. Hat man
      May 17, 2023

      I think you have to look beyond your narrow focus on Brexit, Gardener. Inward investment in Germany, an EU country, is crashing and German firms are relocating elsewhere. Why? Because of the high energy tariffs that would make it unworkable for those businesses to operate there. I don’t doubt it’s similar in this country. European business electricity rates in 2023 are supposed to be around 300€ per MWh. I believe British businesses tend to be paying at least as much as that and maybe more.

    7. Sir+Joe+Soap
      May 17, 2023

      The red tape and barriers are only caused by the arrangements, not by us not being in the EU. With low corporation tax and saving x£m a week with an effective immigration policy, we could have encouraged battery and car producers here. Instead we’re stuck with idiots pulling the levers.

    8. Brian Veillard
      May 17, 2023

      Utter tripe; you do not wish the UK to succeed so you are not wanted, please emigrate to Russia or China.

  5. Wanderer
    May 17, 2023

    Parliament is already pretty toothless because of the Uniparty. That the government also uses procedural rules to bypass Parliament makes it worse. Worse still, is that these ruses will clearly be used by future administrations to avoid scrutiny and sidestep any opposition.

    It’s a disgraceful way to proceed. Our system is undemocratic and corrupt. It is getting worse by the the day. We are truly converging with the EU, even mimicking the way their pathetic excuse for a “democracy” operates.

    1. Peter
      May 17, 2023


      The government is certainly not listening. It still makes various statements and promises in order to give the appearance of action. However, we have heard them all before and nobody believes them now.

      The government knows this but persists with the charade as it has nothing else to offer.

  6. Bloke
    May 17, 2023

    Sir Bill Cash exudes quality and is usually right on virtually everything he proposes for the betterment of the UK. Sloppy ministers obstruct and should not have been appointed in the first place, including the current PM.

    1. Lifelogic
      May 17, 2023

      The Consocialists have 354 MPs perhaps 20 very good honest and dedicated ones and 80 just about acceptable ones the rest are dire Libdems at best and/or are often just on the make.

      The better and sounder you are the less chance you have of being a minister under Sunak, May, Cameron it seems.

      For a start you have to lie that the vaccines were safe and effective and pretend that Net Zero makes any sense. See the Perceus.org.uk report on MHRA’s appalling regulation of Covid Vaccines, Safe and Effective.

    2. Mark B
      May 17, 2023

      At the risk of sounding controversial, I would say that the Secretary of State for Business and Trade was appointed for reasons other than her ability to do the job.

      1. Michelle
        May 17, 2023

        The statement you make is not and should not be controversial.
        We hear much about ‘transparency’ of government.
        To be truly transparent and in good working order all questions should be asked and answered in complete honesty.
        Appointments to positions of power and influence should be merit driven, anything else is not good governance.

      2. Mickey Taking
        May 17, 2023

        Surely that could be true for all appointments?

    3. Timaction
      May 17, 2023

      Indeed he is impressive. It is high time the Tory Party split. Real conservatives and the Snake green faux Consocialists. Then we’d have a party worthy of a vote.

  7. Lifelogic
    May 17, 2023

    Exactly right Sir Bill, but Sunak will just ignore this or give a lame and worthless response. He is now backtracking on his promises regarding China’s dubious UK “education policing” activities in the UK. Clearly moving even further towards a China appeasement policy – as Iain Duncan Smith was correctly pointing out yesterday.

    Sunak seems to get nothing right. He even has people like Grant Shapps (HND in business Manchester Poly) and Amanda Solloway no degree it seems – running our mad energy policy and the economy into the ground, Hunt the failed health Sec doing the same as Chancellor and socialist Gove wrecking the housing letting market. Do either of the energy ministers have even a physics GCSE/O level?

    1. Iain Moore
      May 17, 2023

      Yes, to add to China and reneging on getting rid of EU laws, we have the Windsor agreement which threw the DUP under a bus, yesterday he promised to ship in another 10,000 immigrants to do crop picking, after Braverman had said we shouldn’t be relying on them, all of which makes me concerned about Gibraltar for it seems Spain is on manoeuvres , what chance Sunak stands with them , or are they also about to come in contact with a bus as well?

    2. Jude
      May 17, 2023

      Totally agree….. but democracy is history. Seems our Government/HOC/BoE are doing their very best to destroy UK. To justify returning to the bosom of EU. Never thought I would see the day when our self serving politicians & Civil Service would become enemies of the British people!!

    3. Mike Wilson
      May 18, 2023

      You are obsessed with degrees. Why? I have met many people with good degrees who are nothing special. The sharpest, brightest, most innovative and original (thinkers) I have met in my life are people who have started and run successful businesses.

  8. Donna
    May 17, 2023

    The letter is welcome, but will achieve nothing. Sunak and Hunt are running a “do what the WEF orders and appease the EU” Government.

    Since 2016, when the British people gave it a clear instruction to LEAVE the EU (not stitch up a deal), the Not-a-Conservative-Party has done everything it can to prevent a real Brexit from taking effect and still remain a branch of the Westminster Uni-Party.

    We may no longer be stuck IN the EU. Instead we are stuck TO it and Sunak’s branch of the Westminster Uni-Party isn’t going to do anything to change that.

  9. Javelin
    May 17, 2023

    John, you are the Government. Not the opposition.

    Put pressure on Kemi to tell the civil servants to start removing the laws. If she doesn’t then calm her out.

    If the civil service doesn’t then find a non-job for them and keep moving civil servants into non-jobs until you find one who will do what you want.

    Until then I simply don’t believe the Government want to leave the EU.

  10. BOF
    May 17, 2023

    This shoddy u-turn begs the question, is there a single area where our government supports the UK, UK business or the people of this country?

    If there is I fail to see it.

  11. Ed M
    May 17, 2023

    Bill Cash might be a nice guy but a windbag when it comes to Brexit. He’s a lawyer, Utopian, who lives in his head. Another politician with no pragmatic, business sense. Again, I 100% support his theoretical goal of Brexit – a bit like the goal of D-Day during WW2. But like D-Day, you need the generals or leadership with a proper plan and the money / resources to pay for it. If not, you pay dearly for that. And not a Bridge Too Far but four or five bridges too far.

    1. Mickey Taking
      May 18, 2023

      Did I miss something ? Didn’t D-Day work? Or are we living under a Nazi government?
      I know sometimes you might reflect on the goings-on or the not goings-on and wonder!

      1. Ed M
        May 19, 2023

        No, the point is that D-Day worked because you had proper leaders, plans and the resources / finances to back it up. But these three main elements were missing in Brexit.
        Brexit has lacked proper leadership, a proper plan, and the strong economy to pay for the transition from being in the Single Market to being sovereign.

        This is how history will judge Brexit. And the writing was already on the wall way back at the time of the Referendum. The best Brexiters can do now is to own up, apologise, and help get us out of the mess we’re in at the moment because of their own doing.

        (And I am PRO full Sovereignty – but only when the circumstances are right otherwise you actually diminish / destroy the thing you actually want to achieve overall).

        Brexiters need to grow up and get real.

  12. Richard1
    May 17, 2023

    It seems highly likely that Brexit will to all intents and purposes be reversed after the next election. This will be especially true if it’s a Lib-Lab pact of some sort. The blob is preparing the ground for that by ensuring that the reverse faces as few obstacles as possible, and the REUL bill would obviously be one.

    But here’s an odd thing. We’ve had seven years since the vote and 2 1/2 since clean Brexit was implemented. We’ve had 2 strongly brexity PMs (one so incompetent she had to go after a few weeks), mr Sunak is a prominent brexiteer, and many of the most ardent Brexiteers have been in key ministerial positions: Johnson, Gove, Rees-Mogg, Patel, Braverman, etc. there’s been a 70-80 seat Conservative majority on a Brexit manifesto and yet there seems to be widespread agreement, especially among Brexit-supporting commentators, that it’s been a failure and some of the simplest and most obvious Brexit wins haven’t even been attempted and look set not to be.

    Perhaps the Remain campaign was right after all and it really just doesn’t work for whatever reason. Certainly the strongest argument for remain was the trauma, disruption and inconvenience wouldn’t be worth it because one way and another even a majority Tory govt would never actually implement the sort of Brexit which would make it worthwhile. At the very least the Leave campaign can be accused of absurd hubris in this regard. Let’s see what the history books say. My money’s on the Truss leadership choice being the killer blow.

    1. Original Richard
      May 18, 2023

      Richard1 :

      Cameron, May and Truss were all Remainers and I hardly think Sunak can be described as a “prominent Brexiteer”. We all know May did her best to scupper Brexit.

      The problem is that after 13 years in government the Conservative Party elites are no longer Conservatives or conservatives as predicted by Robert Conquest’s 2nd law of politics. His third law explains the reasons for massive immigration and Net Zero.

      1. Ed M
        May 18, 2023

        Brexit never had the leadership it needed to succeed. It was all unicorn stuff. Not attacking the goal (which is honourable and the right one) but the practical means to get there.

        And the number 1 problem in The Tory Party is the lack of quality politicians inside it. A lack of leaders. We need more people in the Conservative Party with proper business experience (entrepreneurs / and of high quality brands that export abroad etc).

        So the question is how do we attract more people like this into The Tory Party instead of all the lawyers, journalists, PR people, and people such as Penny Mordaunt who I-don’t-know-what-she-is-experienced-in-but-certainly-not-in-proper-business.

        And I don’t know exactly what the answer is. But it’s the first and most important question I’d be asking people to think about at the next Tory Conference.

        1. Mickey Taking
          May 18, 2023

          and how much of the above could be written about the Labour or LibNoDem parties?

          1. Ed M
            May 19, 2023

            I don’t care about Labour or Lib Dems. I’m a Tory! I’m here to put the wind up them like I would to a friend.

    2. Mark B
      May 18, 2023

      Perhaps the Remain campaign was right after all and it really just doesn’t work for whatever reason.

      Beginning to show your true (Liberal) colour’s there mate 😉

  13. Ed M
    May 17, 2023

    And Bill Cash is a great example of a (political) heckler – not a leader (he’s never held a senior political post let alone any pragmatic, business experience).
    With him, it’s all theory – in his head. That approach being a major factor why we’re in the mess we’re in today.

    1. Mickey Taking
      May 17, 2023

      Why would the recent Governments appoint Mr Cash to any post when he sincerely wants the best for the electorate, the UK and a worthwhile independence for this island? Rather contrary to the organised policies.

    2. a-tracy
      May 17, 2023

      Do you have a couple of examples of him heckling previously that has ’caused a mess’ please Ed.

      1. Ed M
        May 18, 2023

        His whole approach to the EU / Brexit was ONE big heckle.

        Again, I support Brexit 100% in theory (it makes no sense, in theory, for a country not to be completely sovereign).

        But not in practise because, for a successful Brexit you need: 1. Strong leader (none) 2. Strong plan (none). 3. An a strong economy to pay for the transition from being in the EU to sovereign.

        And so my argument is that like in business or war, a good goal is not enough. Wanting to implement D-Day without strong leadership, plan and resources / finances is DAFT (even though the goal is honourable and the right one).

        Please stop being so overly-sensitive / tetchy / defensive and just OBJECTIVELY argue the case in hand.

        1. a-tracy
          May 18, 2023

          “Please stop being so overly-sensitive / tetchy / defensive and just OBJECTIVELY argue the case in hand.” Is that addressed to me?

          I’m not defending anything; how am I tetchy? What a strange thing to write. I asked you for evidence of your accusation because I don’t know what you mean about Cash heckling and causing a mess. You went all around the houses not to answer my question; what did he say in particular, one or two quotes of his will suffice to give me an idea of what he has done to cause a mess.

    3. Bloke
      May 17, 2023

      You regard being an MP for nearly 40 years, shadow Attorney General plus other leading roles with a knighthood for services is not a senior political post. Being in the mess you describe, try heckling yourself.

      1. Ed M
        May 18, 2023

        ‘You regard being an MP for nearly 40 years’ – Penny Mordaunt or someone like her will one day be an MP for 40 years. So what?

        ‘shadow Attorney General’ – shadow says it all. Never been a political leader in practise.

        ‘Knighthood’ – Blair got a knighthood for a daft war in Iraq and Afghanistan (I’m no pacifist but war for the right reason).

        Bill Cash is a classic example of a moaner who moans from the sidelines and with grand theories but when it comes to pragmatic, practical leadership to accomplish the great things he wants, there’s a huge gap. In other words, all talk and no action (same for Jacob Rees-Mogg, although unlike Bill, Jacob is an astute businessman and politician and frankly I think he’s wasting his talents to be a leader i.e. of Brexit where as Bill never had those talents in the first place.

        1. Mickey Taking
          May 18, 2023

          If Iraq was merely ‘daft’ we could forgive trivial mistakes on his part.
          Being an MP for 40 years means being re-elected a number of times. That speaks of the constituency being more than mildly happy.

    4. John+C.
      May 17, 2023

      Not having held a senior post after a long career is a sign of integrity, I would think.

      1. Ed M
        May 17, 2023

        Or having held a senior post – with integrity. That’s real integrity ..

        (Ambition is a virtue as long as for the right reasons / done in the right way)

  14. Matt
    May 17, 2023

    Am afraid Sir Bill also speaks for the lone rump ERG and hasn’t come to terms yet with the reality of the seriousness of our situation – “brexit has failed”.

    As an ideologue it is understandable he would like to make as much blue water between us and ‘them’ and so we have the sweeping REUL bill – his letter is well set out and makes the known arguments – but under the circumstance and for the vast majority of living thinking people in this country it is not reasonable to proceed along these lines of divergence as the next generation is going to have to pick up the pieces as most parliamentarians in both Houses know very well. I don’t think this piece will pass as anything much.

  15. Charles Breese
    May 17, 2023

    It is invaluable getting this type of insight into how Parliamentary checks and balances should function in theory and are functioning in practise.

    It also begs the question as to how to get the Civil Service to function effectively from the standpoint of the electorate ie the ultimate paymasters. I would like to see an equivalent of the Vaccine Task Force established to a) assess how the Civil Service should be reorganised and b) oversee the implementation – I envisage the Task Force including, inter alia, people with experience of getting very large multinational businesses to function cohesively and deliver what the owners require.

  16. Ian B
    May 17, 2023

    Shouting at the wall and no one is listening.

    This what calls itself a Conservative Government with the largest majority in most peoples life time cannot hear the noise unless they are making the speech.

    Bill Cash and like minded Conservatives have had their party stolen for under them by an out and out Socialist Government, that doesn’t hear any one but their masters in the EU and the WEF.

    Socialism is about Centralised Control, it is anti the Free Market, it is about Tax and keep Taxing until the Wealth is all gone, anti business, anti intrapreneur, the one size fits all always growing the State, and so on. What is doesn’t like is Conservatism, Freedom, light touch, enabling people to get the best from themselves.

    There is not a single Conservative in this Government, and shame on the Conservative Party for letting this happen.

  17. Ian B
    May 17, 2023

    We have a Socialist Government lead by speech makers, photo oppositionists, group think metro left centralists.

    Sir John do they know what a Conservative is? Do they care? Why would they listen to Bill Cash – he is not a Socialist WEF, EU devotee like them.

    Sorry to resort to name calling, but trying to be expedient and consice on the woes facing the Country

  18. James Freeman
    May 17, 2023

    If the Civil Service cannot deliver new laws, parliament should give the job to other organisations to do it instead. The main outputs of the exercise are a new and reduced set of laws and standards, so it should be easy to outsource. A bit of competition will encourage the Civil Service to up its game in other areas.

  19. agricola
    May 17, 2023

    Deliberate rowing back on the removal of EU law from the statute book. Badenoch asks Sunak how he wants to play it, he says play dumb because we (Sunak&Hunt) wish to retain this law lest we offend our new friends in the EU. She plays dumb, nothing happens, more Red Wall seats are lost in the name of conscialism. Real Conservatives begin to realise that they need an alternative through which to persue Conservative policy.

  20. Winston Smith
    May 17, 2023

    Little by little the UK is being led back into the EU. The “remoaner’s” are going to have their way unless there is a referendum to bring in proportional representation that will get rid of the two party system. The old idea of left and right is anachronistic, we need manifesto’s to vote for from independent MP’s not connected to left or right that can be trusted to deliver against those manifesto’s and will not give succour to “the blob”. Good people like Bill Cash should leave the Conservative Party en masse and go Independent, each one would be strongly supported in a General Election for their honesty and reliability and of course their manifestos.

  21. Chris S
    May 17, 2023

    Bill Cash and our host are part of a very small group of Proper Conservative MPs who are capable of holding the government to account over Brexit. Unfortunately, the rest are more interested in trying to get promoted in government so toe the line somewhat slavishly.

    As Nigel Farage summed up yesterday, Brexit has so far failed to deliver any worthwhile benefits. This is entirely the fault of government inactivity and the changes to the REUL are going certainly not going to improve matters.

    Without at least a couple of extra battery factories our UK car industry (other than Nissan) is going to disappear, yet the government seems paralyses by inaction on this front. Then we have the ridiculous level of inflation and the utter disaster that is immigration policy.

    I can only assume that these failings are a direct result of ineffective ministers spending all their time listening to Remainer civil servants and Andrew Bailey rather than enforcing what we were led to believe was government policy.

    I hate to say it, but could Starmer actually do any worse ?

  22. Michelle
    May 17, 2023

    As has already been mentioned many wonder about the reasons for appointment of Badenoch.
    I am also wondering if she is too afraid of her staff and doesn’t want to be the next Dominic Raab?

    Raab may or may not be a bully but the media furore surrounding something that could have and should have been sorted out in-house (surely there are personnel managers for such thing and of course highly paid Union reps.) was astounding.
    It was made into headline news, and ‘breaking news’with a very obvious and unsophisticated political agenda.
    Perhaps she feels she couldn’t withstand such an onslaught and is playing safe?

    1. Mark B
      May 18, 2023

      Well if she is, it isn’t working.

      Some politicians have to learn the hard way. If you are really good at your job and could be the next threat to the ‘Dear Leader’ you will have the legs cut from beneath you.

  23. Dave Andrews
    May 17, 2023

    Of all the weight of excessive bureaucracy in this country, how much is actually due to EU legacy as opposed to our own bloated state?
    Not much I reckon.

  24. Berkshire Alan
    May 17, 2023

    Looks like double speak, and deals behind the scenes by Sunak to me, not for the first time sadly, remember May and David Davis with our so called Brexit negotiations/sell out.
    Aware some things in politics need to be done behind the scenes for national security, and to perhaps avoid financial gain by some chancers, but to actually mislead Parliament deliberately is surely against the rules is it not. !
    I have a feeling that perhaps the minister in question perhaps did not want to attend a meeting, because she would then have to spill the beans (possibly under orders not to attend) ?

    1. Mark B
      May 18, 2023


  25. Berkshire Alan
    May 17, 2023

    Interesting news today from the latest Infrastructure News report issued to residents by Wokingham Council.
    Plans for a solar farm (agreement signed for connection in 2026) has now been delayed by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks until 2037 due to its inability to connect to the National grid until then, hence an 11 year delay.
    If this is symptomatic of other projects in the pipeline, it proves that net Zero is an absolute fiasco with its present timescale.
    Has the Government done any real and proper research on the capacity, and the possible needed modification/expansion of the National grid JR. ?
    More electric cars, more heat pumps etc by 2030, I think perhaps not !

  26. Peter Gardner
    May 17, 2023

    I had high hopes of kemi Badenoch. I am not sure the problems are either her lack of will or capability, although she admist certain decisions were her own. She blames civil servants. I doubt it is their fault either for the following reasons. The Sunak Framework requires the whole of the UK to remain close enough to regulatory alignment with the EU to keep Brussels happy. It is not far removed in effect from Mrs May’s infamous backstop. This was Prime Minister Sunak’s personal work and the clearest indication of his intentions for UK-EU relations. The Framework and its intentions are contrary to the intent of the REUL (R&R) Bill. I suspect the chain of effect of this flows from the PM to the Cabinet Secretary to all departmental heads and thence to the obfuscation of Kemi Badenoch’s efforts, forcing her to compromise if not fundamentally give way. I suspect that in parallel, Kemi Badenoch has got little backing in cabinet as she is in the Truss Camp, opposed to Hunt’s and Sunak’s economic policies, junior and inexperienced. When it all goes pear shaped, she can be sacrificed. It is a classic tactic from Yes, Minister.
    To my mind this debacle has got technocrat Sunak and his EU minded colleagues written all over it. If there is another explanation i would like to hear it.

    Reply Not my view of her thinking. She is a keen advocate of the change of policy working closely with Michael Gove on it against opposition from some Cabinet members .

    1. Denis+Cooper
      May 18, 2023

      Yes, I am afraid that with Rishi Sunak we have gone back to the Theresa May mentality.

      I said of her, and to her, that she seemed to be at least as much on the side of the EU as on our side.

      For example, in a letter published in our local newspaper in November 2018:


      “… it is becoming increasingly clear that our Prime Minister Theresa May does not see her role in the Brexit negotiations as being on our side working for our national interests, but more to act as a kind of intermediary to strike compromises between the interests of the UK and those of the EU.”

  27. glen cullen
    May 17, 2023

    This is a major worry for our democracy

  28. Ed M
    May 17, 2023

    Also, Jacob Rees-Mogg is also a heckler – not a leader (although he does have pragmatic business sense and political intelligence for sure – both). If he really is passionate about Brexit, then why didn’t he put his hat in the ring to be PM (either he lacks the real confidence of a leader or never really believed Brexit would work – i think it’s lack of confidence / cojones so he heckles from the sidelines like a fishwife.

  29. Bert+Young
    May 17, 2023

    It is clear that Sunak is scared stiff of upsetting the EU – Windsor Agreement etc . Badenoch has stalled her responses because she has been instructed to do so and the result is our lack of independence . Sunak has a mountain to climb if he is to overcome the present dissent that exists ; he has not got the talent necessary in his present team .

    1. mancunius
      May 18, 2023

      Sunak is not interested in climbing mountains. He is content merely to walk and smile at the same time: that will suffice him until he sedately loses the 2024 election and gets his next WEF-promoted international leadership job.

  30. MFD
    May 17, 2023

    There are far too many people of foreign origin in Westminster and they do not have any loyalty to our British Society.
    The situation is ridiculous!

  31. paul
    May 17, 2023

    Am I right in writing that this lady was also picked to be PM, just goes to show how the con party had the fix in the PM vote, but the lady that won was not in the fix and was remove from office all most right away.

  32. Mark+Thomas
    May 17, 2023

    Sir John,
    It is almost seven years since we voted to leave the European Union.
    Longer than the entire duration of the second world war.
    But we don’t seem to be making any progress.
    As long as the Government continues to sidestep Parliament nothing is going to change.

  33. Javelin
    May 17, 2023

    Hunt says Speaking at a British Chambers of Commerce event this morning, the Chancellor said: “If markets judge that we are not getting our borrowing under control they will punish us with higher interest rates.”

    In other words spending is out of our control and we are being forced to borrow to keep our head above water. So the question is why is spending out of control. This country is basically bankrupt. We can’t raise taxes or interest rates because that will cause a recession. The only option is to DILUTE public sector spending and reduce public sector salaries.

    1. mancunius
      May 18, 2023

      The problem is that they know they cannot do that. They let the state grow so big that its employees now wield the levers of power. The civil service is determined to have a Labour government or to rule as if there was one in power.

    2. Mark B
      May 18, 2023

      “If markets judge that we are not getting our borrowing under control they will punish us with higher interest rates.”

      Says the man who wants to spend £20bn on Carbon Capture.

      The hypocrisy.

  34. Denis+Cooper
    May 17, 2023

    Off topic, reflecting on Rishi Sunak’s reversion to post-Suez Tory type in vastly overstating the importance of having a special trade deal with our European neighbours – Northern Ireland uniquely retaining that massive economic benefit of unfettered access to the EU Single Market which previously the whole UK enjoyed, as he now argues – I thought to do the calculation of how much that might have added to our economic growth over the past 30 years, since the advent of the EU Single Market, and concluded that at least 97% of our economic growth had been unconnected with its creation. Then I remembered that I had done this calculation before, and looking in my files I found this from nearly seven years ago, just before the referendum:


    “I wonder if over the next few days I will hear anybody on TV telling the simple and basic truth, that over the past 23 years since it was created at least 97% of our economic growth has NOT been down to the EU Single Market.”

    The detailed explanation for that calculation was in a comment that I had made just up that thread.

    From the point of view of getting some realism into the debate those years have achieved very little.

  35. Ian B
    May 17, 2023

    The Chancellor told the British Chambers of Commerce’s annual conference that his “overwhelming priority” is to reduce inflation.

    “There’s nothing automatic about bringing down inflation. There’s a plan, we are going to stick to it.”
    “The Bank of England has a role through monetary policy and interest rates, we support them 150pc with that.“
    “What I do on the fiscal side in terms of tax and spend has an influence.”

    Its good to hear that the Chancellor in his mind believes raising taxes to a 70 year high has nothing to do with increasing industry costs, market place price rises, food costs and therefore inflation

  36. Keith from Leeds
    May 17, 2023

    Here, in a nutshell, is the government’s problem. They announce what they are going to do with great fanfare, then back off & don’t do it! More talk lately from the PM about stopping the boats, but who believes it will happen? Did anyone see the Chancellor’s pathetic video about inflation? What utter rubbish & he is supposed to know what the economy needs! Just like the tourist tax, anyone with a bit of vision would have thought with the Coronation & Eurovision; we would have lots of tourists, so let’s encourage them to spend by allowing them to reclaim VAT. Then still no word on cutting the cost of government to make room for tax cuts. I don’t think the PM or Chancellor want to win the next General Election.

  37. Ian B
    May 17, 2023

    Off topic – from today’s Media
    ‘UK regulators should consider need for economic growth’, warns Chancellor
    ‘It comes weeks after the UK competition watchdog halted the 68.7 billion dollar (£55 billion) deal by Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard.’

    A weird comment from a Government Minister, the market works best with Competition. Microsoft appears to be saying that with $68 billion to spare they can’t produce a Competitor to AB, so instead lets get into the market and remove competition all at the same time. And the Chancellor agrees no competition is best. MS has form, Skype, LinkedIn and so on, all now worse as a result.

    Yes, it is really is a US thing to sort out, but it does highlight that in growing markets by removing competition does seem counter productive. The UK nowadays is generally is in the doldrums as it has been the selling off of the ‘silver’ with little thought of maintaining a healthy competing market place. Most of the big market sales of UK assets have resulted in punishment of the consumer and the taxpayer, along the rise in prices.

  38. Ed M
    May 17, 2023

    Ukraine has proved that American defence systems can shoot down Russian hypersonic missiles (that travel something like x 10 the speed of sound – terrifying and deadly especially if armed with nuclear etc).

    The UK needs to develop this defence system for itself (including a system that can shoot down drones too that are now a real threat to national security). And then sell these defence systems abroad to boost our economy not just our defence.

    1. Ed M
      May 17, 2023

      Or that we make a self-defence system with our geographical neighbours, in particular, with Germany, France, Italy, Scandinavia, Netherlands and elsewhere.

  39. Abigail
    May 17, 2023

    Do we still have a conservative government? Why are you still associated with this shower? We need a government of integrity, a government which keeps its word, but this lot is socialist – national socialist maybe, but socialist nonetheless. Look at the way the current PM robbed the taxpayer to pay the idle to stay at home during the plandemic – and is now blaming a convenient war for the resulting inflation!

    John Redwood for PM. Otherwise there is no hope for the Tory Party. But maybe best to join Reclaim, now that it has a sitting MP.

  40. Blazes
    May 17, 2023

    Knowing the sensitivity of the geo-political situation Truss has a hard neck indeed visiting Taiwan at this time looking for her Nancy Pelosi moment I suppose – she thinks it might help her unseat SUNAK at the right moment – she thinks – and she doesn’t care what harm might ensue to UK trade relations because of her action – but as things go she’s a little light on sense – this we can see in the vacant gaze – however am sure the Chinese can also see it so she’s wasting her time – a bit like Sir Bill’s letter today today making waves splashing about but in the end getting nowhere.

  41. Original Richard
    May 17, 2023

    Didn’t the Hon. Kemi Badenoch MP attend the WEF Davos conference in January?

  42. Mickey Taking
    May 18, 2023

    Ed M wins the number of entries in a day competiton. Well Done.

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