WTO rules and no divorce bill

Tory Brexiteer Lord Lawson Tells Theresa May To Get Off Her ‘Knees’ And Stop ‘Begging’ Brussels For A Good Deal

Margaret Thatcher would be ‘appalled’ by her successor.


Paul Waugh, Executive Editor, Politics, HuffPost UK

Tory tensions over Brexit have boiled over in spectacular fashion after former Chancellor Nigel Lawson told Theresa May to get off her “knees” and stop “begging” Brussels for a good deal.

The Conservative peer declared that Margaret Thatcher would have been appalled that the UK was “in a humiliating state of cringe” towards the EU.

Just hours after May boasted in the Commons of her breakthrough in Brussels negotiations, Lord Lawson said she had “lost her nerve” in agreeing to pay £39bn in return for a future trade deal with the 27-nation bloc.

His withering remarks came as Tory backbencher Philip Davies broke ranks to accuse May of needlessly sending billions overseas to the EU when she should instead be ending “austerity at home”.

Lord Lawson, delivering the fourth annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London’s Carlton Club, was scathing about the Government’s stance.

“We find ourselves today quite unnecessarily as a supplicant, in a humiliating state of cringe, begging for what is both unnecessary and unattainable – a posture which would have been anathema to Margaret Thatcher,” he said.

“The time has come to call an end to this demeaning process. We must get up off our knees.”

Lawson, who was Thatcher’s Chancellor and wants a ‘no deal Brexit’ to allow the UK maximum freedom to trade on World Trade Organisation rules, said that the late Prime Minister would have been “delighted” by the Brexit referendum result last year.

Yet he added that under Theresa May “we have now allowed ourselves to become bogged down in the fruitless quest for a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, wasting precious time and making concession after concession to try and achieve one”.

“It is fruitless essentially because the EU is determined that we should not get anything that can be presented as a good deal, as that might, either now or in the future, encourage other members to follow suit.

“The provisional agreement that Mrs May secured last Friday is just about acceptable so far as it goes. But let us be quite clear. The UK’s regulatory autonomy, post-Brexit, must be unfettered. It is an essential attribute of national sovereignty, which is what Brexit is all about.”

Lawson praised May’s Lancaster House speech earlier this year when she said ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’.

“Yet she appears to have lost her nerve, and – no doubt encouraged by the bureaucracy, who are horrified by the idea of Brexit – has allowed herself to be manoeuvred into imagining that no trade deal would be a disaster. This is manifest nonsense. It is also the cause of most of her current difficulties.”

For good measure, Lawson added a jibe about May’s plans to intervene in energy markets and business to correct ‘market failure’.

“Margaret Thatcher would have been appalled by the explicit rejection of Thatcherite economics to which the present Government appears committed,” he said.

And backbencher Philip Davies, who was highly critical of May at a private meeting last week of the ’92 Group’ of fellow Thatcherite MPs, ridiculed the PM to her face in the Commons.

“The Prime Minister said that there has been give and take in these negotiations. Of course she is absolutely right: we are giving the EU tens of billions of pounds, and the EU is taking them.

“She said that the money will not be paid unless there is a final agreement. By definition, that must mean that we are not legally obliged to make these payments because otherwise that option would not be available to us.

“Will she explain why she is paying tens of billions of pounds that are not legally due to the European Union when she is continuing a policy of austerity at home? Many of my constituents simply do not understand where all this extra money is coming from.”

Earlier, May admitted for the first time that the Brexit ‘divorce bill’ would amount to £39bn in payments to the EU, but tried to calm her MPs by stressing that it was dependent on a future trade deal.

“If we don’t agree that partnership, then this offer is off the table,” she said during a 105-minute session.

Britain is on course to leave the EU two years after the PM triggered the formal Article 50 process in March this year.

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12 Comments on "WTO rules and no divorce bill"

  • Naturalistic Pagan says

    I appreciate that my comments below will not instantly persuade anyone with fixed views on the EU to change their mind but they may help them think beyond just their own Utopian recollections of times gone by. I have witnessed first hand the amazing way that youngsters in this country get along regardless of race or creed and that gives me great pride in and optimism for the future of this country. Perhaps it is now time to accept our mistake and reconsider the folly that was the referendum. Youngsters today are far more internationally minded than their parents and grandparents so for their benefit it is time to accept that the British Empire is no more and we don’t need to be a “go it alone” nation. Young people in this country regard Poles and other Europeans the same way that we regarded those from neighbouring cities when we were younger. They may speak with an accent and support different football teams but are generally the same as us. Young open-minded people are our future and they associate themselves just as much with Brussels as they do with London so we should let them have the final say on the EU; after all the referendum was only intended to test the waters but was not, as I am sure you are aware, legally binding.

    • Andrew says

      Thank you for your comment NP.

      I could not disagree with you more. Younger people have as much, or more, to gain from Britain’s independence from the decaying, antidemocratic monster that is the EU. The fact that they have not known what it is like to live in a free country and the incessant one-sided propaganda of the majority of the corporate media, sufficiently explains the parroting of such nonsense by those younger people who are taken in by it.

      The sensible majority of the electorate, who voted in the Referendum last year, included very many younger people, as well, of course, as the great majority of those chronologically older but young at heart and in outlook on life.

      Your suggestion that “young open-minded people” should have the final say on the EU is both logically and politically incoherent, as well as ‘ageist’. Who decides which young people are open-minded? They themselves, or the corrupt Establishment politicians and bureaucrats who are feeding at the EU trough? And how open-minded is it of the outvoted minority to wish to silence and overrule the majority by thwarting the democratically expressed decision of that majority?

      Don’t mistake the EU for Europe. The two are entirely distinct. Across the continent of Europe parties which favour national freedom and independence are gaining ground, winning seats in parliament and bidding fair to enter government. Look at Germany and Austria for very recent confirmation of this undeniable fact.

      You may be young in years but your outlook could not be more that of the failed past. The future belongs to the new young movements of Europe which campaign for national independence and freedom from the economic chains of the EU.

      Join us and help make it happen!

      • Naturalistic Pagan says

        Thank you for replying to my comment; what I love about England is that we are able to have hugely opposing views and yet can still discuss them in a civil manner.
        I disagree that youngsters have more to gain from Brexit (I will not use the term independence) as I feel that the appetite of the majority of the planet is for closer union rather than division. Yes, you are correct that there are some far-right organisations making huge strides within Europe but I don’t believe that they are the majority and, to be honest, I would hate to be associated in any way to some of these groups. I dispute your view that we have never known a free country. I don’t believe that I have ever been forced to comply although there is much that I disagree with our governments.
        By suggesting that the sensible voted to leave in the referendum I guess you infer that those who voted to remain are not sensible. That is a huge sweeping statement about nearly half of all those who voted and many who didn’t. I would consider myself to be sensible and, as you can no doubt establish from the tone of my arguments, I voted to remain.
        I accept your point that my comment about the young deciding our future was perhaps ageist however I dispute that it was politically incoherent. Surely people are allowed to change their views and still be represented so why shouldn’t the electorate be given the opportunity to have a final say on whether we leave or stay. In doing so, far many youngsters will get a chance to have their say on a future that has more relevance to them than it does to many older people. That is not being ageist as older generations would also still have the opportunity to express their views.

        Thank you for the invitation to join you but there are very few, if any, of your views or your organisation’s policies that I could support.

        • Andrew says

          If you value free speech, as I do, then you ought to oppose further immigration from the Third World and Eastern Europe, whose societies have no very long history of respect for it. Leaving the EU will at least restore Britain’s ability to curtail immigration from Eastern Europe and that will be a huge step forward on the road to ending and reversing the mass immigration of culturally foreign people to the country.

          Terms such as ‘closer union’ are meaningless platitudes designed by cynical Establishment politicians and bureaucrats to mislead the inexperienced and unwary. The opposite of ‘closer union’, in the context of the EU, is not ‘division’, as they and you, it seems, would have us believe, but, rather, freedom and democracy.

          Again, the label ‘far right’ is designed by those same antidemocratic and foreign elitist elements within the countries of Europe to elicit an emotional response of fear, as a consequence of which debate may be avoided and freedom of expression, including free speech, closed down. The parties which the rotten Establishment fears may not yet have the support of the majority, but the substantial support they do have is growing fast, while the support of the Establishment parties is dwindling equally fast.

          It is the younger people, born after 1973 when Britain joined the EU, who have never known what it is like to live in a free country. None so enslaved as those who do not even know it.

          I used the term sensible in the sense of being aware and informed, as few who knew the facts, as opposed to publicly funded propaganda, can have been in any doubt as to the desirability of leaving the EU and regaining our independence.

          The referendum was, as you say, not legally binding but this is a technicality and a trivial point since referenda are usually not legally binding but advisory. Their results are morally and politically binding upon the governments who hold them, just as governing parties’ manifesto commitments are not legally binding but morally and politically binding. The May government and/or any successor, must fulfil the mandate given by the 2016 referendum result or lose all democratic legitimacy. Yes, the views of the electorate change over time but that cannot justify holding a further referendum on the same question before the result of the first has been implemented. That would be a negation of democracy and the ultimate vindication of those, like myself, who condemn the EU as antidemocratic.

          Once the decision of the people, sovereign in any democracy worthy of the name, has been implemented by their servants the law-makers and the beneficial effects of freedom from EU tyranny become evident, then and only then should the question of a further referendum be raised, if there is any appetite for it. After all, it was 41 years after the first referendum on whether to remain in the EU that the second was held. On the basis of this precedent a referendum on whether to rejoin the EU should be held no earlier than 2058.

          You still appear to believe that the views of ‘youngsters’, presumably because they are expected to have more years of life ahead of them, should carry more weight in a democratic contest, such as a referendum, than those of older people who have more experience of life. This seems not only ‘ageist’ but to border on ‘hate speech’ against those of more mature years, no longer green in judgement.

          My invitation to ‘join us and help make it happen’ was not directed to you alone but also to other of my countrymen who read this.

          • Naturalistic Pagan says

            I believe that free movement within the EU has allowed people of different backgrounds to see and experience life in other cultures and thus it will help the countries you mention above move forward in their journey to “freedom”. Look at what has happened in countries like Czechia or the Baltic states (Just a few of many good examples) These regions once under Soviet rule are now free independent countries thanks in part to the EU. You state that we need to “restore Britain’s ability to curtail immigration from Eastern Europe and that will be a huge step forward on the road to ending and reversing the mass immigration of culturally foreign people to the country.” Why should we want to reverse this, it has been hugely beneficial to our country. I find it hard to believe that you are saying that our country was better pre-1973 than it is today. I’m not saying that you necessarily do, but vast numbers of the older generations look back at those times with rose-tinted spectacles as some still do to war time. I know when I would rather be living and that is certainly in Britain today.

            Lastly, having read some of your articles I find it laughable, no hilarious that you accuse me of hate speech. Please read again some of the grossly offensive things you have written and then tell me that it is me who is using hate speech.

          • Andrew says

            “Free” movement is a misnomer, as well as a euphemism for the criminal invasion of Western Europe by people who have no business being there. A misnomer because the costs of such movement are borne by the native population of these countries, in higher taxes and in the murders, rapes and acid attacks which the alien immigrants perpetrate against our folk.

            The EU played virtually no part in bringing about the collapse of the Warsaw Pact regimes of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

            Immigration from Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe has been a disaster for the country. It must be ended and reversed in order to prevent the native peoples of these islands becoming a minority in their own homeland and a descent into civil war along ethnic lines.

            In many ways the country was better before 1973. Many university students received full maintenance grants and all had tuition fees paid by their local authorities, to cite just one example that may strike a chord with younger people today. Bear in mind also that it was after joining the EU in 1973 that Britain suffered the humiliation of having to apply for a loan from the International Monetary Fund, not before. The country may be richer in material terms than it was in 1973, but just imagine how much more rich it could have been had we remained a sovereign independent nation for the last 44 years, instead of a dumping ground for the overpriced agricultural produce of the EU.

            Finally, if you insist: it is you who is using hate speech.

  • Naturalistic Pagan says

    Blaming immigrants for “the murders, rapes and acid attacks… against our folk” is incredibly shortsighted and is hate speech in my humble opinion. You surely cannot think that everyone of these dreadful crimes that are committed against “our folk” are committed by foreigners. I personally would be far happier if a decent hardworking immigrant moved in next door to me than a member of the National Front, EDL or a Britain First but I get the impression you would not be happy to have any foreigner living next door to you..

    • Andrew says

      Immigrants are vastly over-represented in the population of our prisons, a fact that sufficiently justifies my statement. I am not happy that the English are now a minority in a number of English towns and cities, including the capital. I am happy that I and others are doing what we can to reverse the situation. And I am confident that, in time, it will be reversed.

      • Naturalistic Pagan says

        Please clarify; are you referring to immigrants or illegal immigrants?

        • Andrew says

          When I use the term immigrants in this context I refer to ethnic aliens who have settled in the country since 1948 and their descendants. Naturally, immigrants of Anglo-Celtic descent from other parts of the Anglosphere are welcome here.

          • Naturalistic Pagan says

            1948 is a very precise date. Why so?

            I know many people whose origins are not from the Anglosphere but who are far more British than I am in many many aspects and have culturally immersed themselves in everything. Most of these are now naturalised Brits and many have been hugely successful academically and are now contributing massively to our people and our economy.

            I also know many people who are of mixed race and consider themselves to be proud Brits. Two of these have served in the Army and one in the RAF.

            Surely you would not include any of the above in your concept of reverse immigration otherwise you would pretty much be assuming that all children of mix raced marriages are illegitimate.

          • Andrew says

            1948 is a useful index date because it was in that year the British Nationality Act became law, permitting and encouraging the immigration of non-whites from parts of the so-called New Commonwealth, such as the West Indies and Pakistan, to immigrate to Britain. This resulted in an annually increasing influx of ethnically unassimilable foreigners into the country to compete with the English for jobs, education, healthcare and housing.

            Whether such immigrants have served in the armed forces and regard themselves as Britons has no bearing on their eligibility to choose voluntarily to repatriate themselves.

            I certainly do include the progeny of mixed race unions in the concept of reverse immigration, regardless of their current legal status. Your suggestion that to do so would be tantamount to treating such offspring as illegitimate is a non sequitur, because the reverse immigration will be voluntary rather than entailing the deprivation of any rights currently enjoyed.


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