The regular Ipsos MORI political monitor came out in today’s Evening Standard. Topline voting intention figures were CON 39%(+1), LAB 37%(-1), LDEM 13%(+3), UKIP 2%(-4). Fieldwork was Friday to Tuesday and changes are from MORI’s last poll in July (they take a month off for August).

As with other recent polls the Conservatives seem to have recovered a tiny lead since falling behind after the Davis & Johnson resignations. Worth noting is that 13% for the Liberal Democrats. This is the highest they have recorded in any poll since the general election. While one shouldn’t read too much into a single poll – especially one whose fieldwork overlapped with the Lib Dem party conference – the wider polling trend does suggest some uplift in Liberal Democrat support: six of the nine polls so far this month have the Liberal Democrats back up in double figures.

The poll also asked about confidence in the Brexit negotiations, finding predictably low figures. 28% of people said they were confident Theresa May would get a good deal for Britain in the Brexit negotiations, 70% were not.

There was, however, not much more confidence that alternative Prime Ministers would do any better. 28% were confident Jeremy Corbyn would get a good deal were he Prime Minister, 67% were not. If Boris Johnson was PM 33% would be confident he’d get a good deal, 64% would not.

Full details are here.

389 Responses to “Ipsos MORI/Standard – CON 39, LAB 37, LDEM 13, UKIP 2”

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  1. @ Neil A
    “At this point I barely care how much damage a crash out would do. I wouldn’t be too upset if May walked out of the talks altogether in October.”

    Wonderful! The leave campaign creates chaos & then its supporters walk away saying “the hell with it.”

  2. @Colin

    ‘I don’t accept your proposed response’

    I am not sure why not. All I was asking was that we face facts. You have accepted that this is what they do. So we are on the same page.

    To try to be more constructive I think the way to deal with civil servants is not to try and bully them, or complain about them or set out red lines. Ideally one engages them in finding a form of words that allows you to do what you want to do and them to say they have kept their rules.

    Ideally in my view we would have said we welcomed free movement of labour understanding of course that this did not cover NHS tourists and benefit migrants. This could be seen as a clarification rather than a victory, ‘unfortunately politicians want victories and like Trump they think they can be easily won. So we have to proclaim absolute control of our borders, even though in reality we need migrants and our real control of them will be much as before.

  3. “Member: I have decided I want to cancel my gym membership.

    Gym: F##K OFF!”
    @Simon September 21st, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Pretty much on the nail. Nicely put!

  4. Triguy,
    ” today I feel ecstatic that I took that vow.”

    Me i feel pleased we might (might) [might] actually see some action soon.

    Allan Christie,
    “Wouldn’t it be funny if we had one and we still voted to leave”

    I think one of the best things leave could do would be to support a second vote on the final deal. It would massively support their case. (but see caveat above, a disaster for them if they mislead voters)

    Neil A,
    “If it is “possible” to make an exception for Northern Ireland, why not for the whole of the UK? ”

    Surely the problem is that the UK government does not want to make an exception for the Uk. Because it wouldnt be an exception but a deal where we stay in.

    “as I understand it getting a bill through parliament before the A50 deadline would be very difficult without government support?”

    I have posted before about the potential advantages for the opposition of a non binding vote. If parliament opposes some brexit deal which however goes through because the government prevents them effectively stopping it, the blame (or indeed credit) would absolutely and unavoidably fall to the government.

    If it then proves a disaster, they become a party with a terminal disease. And I have long thought this is the driver why tories would want to remain. Not because they are too fussed either way, but because a bad brexit could crucify them.

  5. Hireton,

    ”From the safest places come the bravest words”

    Adrian Boreland RIP

  6. JJ

    “Conference Fringe will be interesting, it would be good if we had a poster there?”

    D’you mean you’re not going to the LP CF.

    Rosie and Daisie have their little suitcases packed and are looking forward to the friendly banter.

  7. Neil A

    Ps. It’s a sympton of the current populist approach to politics, whether it be Trump, Corbyn or a no-deal Brexit. The various groups of supporters are disenchanted with the status quo — so they say, let’s throw everything up in the air & see what comes out of the chaos.

    For decades a large element of the Tory party have been criticising and indeed abusing the EU. Indeed, until recently our For Sec was one of the most notrious of this group. Plus, for the last two years the government has been seen, even by the great majority of leavers, to have utterly mishandled the negotiations. Are you really surprised that elements in the EU rulership may have been a little ranked and baffled by all this?

  8. “And now on 5 PM Jonathan Dimbleby pronounces the Manchester hall for tonight`s Any Questions as Chetham`s with a short “e”.”
    September 21st, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Well I’ve lived in the North West for 60 years and it has always been Cheetham’s.

  9. @COLIN
    “If the talks fail , someone will table Ref2 in The House.”

    Table what, though? “Ref2” isn’t a thing.

    A resolution of the House demanding one? Not enough to provide the statutory basis for a referendum as the law stands. Or to stop Brexit for that matter. The Withdrawal Act needs to be repealed for that.

    A legislative measure? Through what procedure? When was the last time legislation was passed via any non-government procedure in the face of government opposition (or in the face of any opposition if not given government time)?

    People need to get their heads round the fact that it doesn’t matter if there is no majority in the Commons for no deal. No deal doesn’t need a Commons majority. It’s the default option as the law stands. It needs to be actively stopped. By some procedure that actually exists in our constitution.

  10. I Am an Exception to My Own Rules

    Anyway before I get back to filling in my Irish passport form (thank the Lord the old man was an Irish economic migrant.)

    I was complaining the other day about people — sorry peeps (a pointless & unamusing slang word if ever there were one) — repeating themselves. God knows if the post appeared.
    Of course I exempt myself from my strictures on others.

    There will not be second referendum under the auspices of this Parliament. If T May or a future Tory leader tried to call one, they would be driven out of office. If Tory remainers voted for it with Labour then the party would be irrevocably split.
    It might occur after a GE, but how that event could focus on such a single issue it is impossible to imagine.

    “Put out the light and then put out the light”

  11. Peter W

    ” No deal doesn’t need a Commons majority. It’s the default option as the law stands. It needs to be actively stopped. By some procedure that actually exists in our constitution.”

    I agree with that. Hence the importance of whatever the ECJ rules on the question of a unilateral withdrawal of A50.

    If that is not valid within EU law, then at least we will have certainty on that.

    If that can be done under EU law [1], then a decision to that effect made by both Houses of Parliament [2] and communicated to the EU should be sufficient. There would be huge political ramifications, and inevitably a new GE – but that seems very probable anyway.

    [1] Since the prospect of a member state tabling and then withdrawing A50 would be very destabilising to the Union, one might reasonably expect an amendment to the Lisbon Treaty to deal with that.

    [2] I don’t know the exact Parliamentary procedure, but in essence, HoC and HoL agreeing that the process should be halted, would be enough. Lots of flim-flammery from lots of MPs as to why they voted for withdrawing A50 would then result (except for those who had maintained a consistent stance since the referendum – SNP, PC, Greens as well as individuals).

  12. Thanks Hireton for that Chris Deerin link.

    I like the analogy of England being an elephant with the peripheral nations on its back.

    But what a hypocrite Theresa May is. In that angry Downing St lecture, she had the gall to complain of the lack of respect by the EU for the UK position, when in the next breath she totally disrespects the NI democratic vote to stay in the EU.

    We were told repeatedly in 2016 that the votes in each polity would be respected, and it was only an advisory referendum, but she blatantly ignores democracy.

    The only possible compromise is the UK staying in the CU and SM – all credit to Nicola S for sticking to this policy.

  13. @ PeterW

    Well said.

    The default now is a disorderly, no-deal Brexit. It is very hard to conceive of either a UK/EU rapprochement after the past two days, nor Parliament the legislation to stop Brexit.

    The oddest thing in all this is how unhappy those who have advocated ‘clean Brexit’ seem to be about what has happened – the Brexiteers who were opposed to Chequers. Far from feeling pleased that Theresa May’s plan,, which they had regarded as a betrayal, has been rejected, they now seem to be outraged at the ‘discourtesy’ shown to her.

    Someone needs to remind them that what we are heading for – a clean break, no payment to the EU and no jurisdiction for the ECJ – is precisely what they have been long supported. .

  14. Hireton

    Thanks for the Deerin link. One can ask no more of people than they are prepared to think again about the issues, when the assumptions they originally made have turned out to be invalid.

  15. CB11

    @”Did you feel suitably enlightened and informed?”

    Not really-as I said to NeilA-Rees-Mogg seems more convincing on the point.

    A point of view held by PETERW in his post to me ( thank you) :-

    ” . No deal doesn’t need a Commons majority. It’s the default option as the law stands. It needs to be actively stopped. By some procedure that actually exists in our constitution.”

    But, as I posted earlier, I cannot believe it will come to that.

  16. Colin

    “I cannot believe it will come to that.”

    I long held that position, but (unless May, Corbyn, the EC and the other 27 leaders have a secret agreement to reach a settlement, regardless of whatever idiocies are promulgated within English political circles) then the events of the last couple of days in Salzburg and London make that position hard to hold.

  17. OLDNAT

    Is a “secret agreement” necessary to support that view?

    How about this ?:-
    Salzburg was an “informal summit”. It was never intended as a key Brexit meeting. The main agenda item was immigration ( which they all fell out over).

    Despite this May tried to get some recognition for Chequers out of it -probably for PR purposes. They didn’t like her Die Welt “tone” ( too “uncompromising”-poor dears ! ). They didn’t like a perceived attempt to subvert Barnier.

    So they ganged up on her & Tusk put the boot in.

    She retaliated-Tusk responds by saying……..well actually I think Raphael Behr has that spot on ( see earlier).

    So now we move on to the meetings intended for Brexit-including one newly called for that purpose-November I think.

    As Tusk said today in his response to May-” I remain convinced that a compromise, good for all, is still possible. I say these words as a close friend of the UK and a true admirer of PM May.”

    So-don’t mention the Instagram Cherries & lets press on to the final showdown.

  18. Hang on a sec, these rules that we want the EU to bend. Didn’t we create them? As a member state didn’t we have input into what they are? This nasty EU institution, aren’t we as much to blame as ‘they’ are? Indeed, doesn’t that make ‘them’ us?

    Hmm. That can’t be right. I must have got that wrong.

  19. Perhaps there is a chance of a deal.

    “According to one official present: “He said Chequers was valuable, and there were many points of convergence between the Chequers White Paper and our position.

    “We never understood the White Paper as, here are 99 pages, please sign on the dotted line and we have an agreement. We always took it, and it was explained to us publicly, as a sign of movement and a sign of ambition and it was a position paper that was supposed to be discussed.””

  20. Colin

    Nov 17-18 has been pencilled in, I think.

    Your “(too “uncompromising”-poor dears ! )” is, perhaps part of the patronising attitude to foreigners that has bedevilled this entire botched process.

    In any negotiating position, it’s quite reasonable (though not necessarily sensible) to be “uncompromising”, if you think you “hold all the cards” (as the extreme Brexiteers put it).

    If you don’t have many cards to play, and you actually want a compromise deal, then it’s a somewhat foolish strategy.

  21. cant see it. may has painted herself even further into a corner. she cant really budge now – not that her party would let her.
    To be honest i thought she came across as slightly unhinged today. desperate certainly.

  22. More interesting background on May’s Salzburg debacle:

    If she and her team mismanaged this so badly, why is there any readon to consider that she canhandle even more fraught later negotiations any more successfully?

  23. The Aberdeenshire leading councillor who was suspended from SCON because he was not paying his council tax, but then taken straight back into the ruling CON administration as an “Aligned Independent”, is in the news again.

    He has been ordered out of one of his castles today by the sheriff court, seemingly for not paying bills. It was splashed on the front and inner pages of our evening paper.

    Maybe our Tory councillors are defying Ruth Davidson because they have sympathy for Mr Leslie`s predicament, or even have family links. With many castles and stately homes in the NE hinterland, and many of the owning families having been in possession for several centuries, there`s a complex web of holdings. The families have intermarried and waxed and waned, with spells of ambitious building and then decades of neglect and problems.

    This has often kept their policies as valuable for wildlife, and magnets for me.

    So unlike my anger and exasperation at Theresa May`s behaviour, I view this local story with interest and possible sympathy, when more facts come out.

  24. Sam

    Good negotiators always leave some face saving possibilities for the weaker party in any agreement.

    The EC has shown considerable skill in negotiations. The UK ………

  25. Follow the money. Once the EU realises it might not get its £40bn it might decide to magnanimously compromise.

  26. Pete B

    “Follow the money”

    Good point. Just look at where leading Brexiteers like Re-Smog are placing their (and their clients cash).

  27. Reggieside

    Paul Mason’s observation – “There’s a thin line between looking tough and looking unhinged.”

  28. ON
    I assume everyone with a reasonable amount of money will have diversified into foreign holdings before Brexit was even dreamed of. It’s just common sense. I don’t have vast sums by any means but a portion of my portfolio is held abroad, and therefore benefits whenever the pound falls.

  29. well thats nice for you

  30. Pete B

    “a portion of my portfolio is held abroad”

    Mine too, because part of the fund managers job is to mitigate the investment against the idiocies of politicians advocating policies which will damage the economies of their home country.

    Not that hedge fund managers are the slightest bit interested in the meagre sums that you and I have invested.

    When there is an apparent conflict of interest, however, between a fund manager who is also a politician, it is sensible to question whether their investment advice matches the political strategy that they advocate.

    Hence my agreement with you that Deep Throat’s advice to “follow the money” is a wise one.

  31. @Colin – “This EU line was put to Raab this morning. His response was -we modelled our proposal on the Ukraine/EU DCFTA-why is it OK for UKraine but not for UK ?

    Do you have an answer to that question ?”

    Well, firstly, my guess would be the impact of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement, from which the Ukraine/EU Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (the free trade agreement) stems from. Taken in isolation, this agreement (the Ukraine/EU DCFTA) looks attractive for Brexiters, as it does indeed allow for access to the Single Market in some sectors, and also allows for freedom of movement but with some significant controls.

    However, under the association agreement, the Ukraine has committed to economic, judicial, and financial reforms to converge its policies and legislation to those of the European Union. Ukraine commits to gradually conform to EU technical and consumer standards. So clearly not acceptable to May on this count.

    Ukraine is also required adopt around 90% of EU laws into it’s domestic law in a legally binding manner. Again, not acceptable to May.

    The DCFTA does not mean Ukraine in is the Customs Unions, and so there are still border checks. So not acceptable to May, the EU or the DUP.

    If there is a dispute relating to regulatory approximation or to an interpretation of EU law, the arbitration panel that oversees the agreement must request a ruling from the European Court of Justice, whose verdicts are legally binding. So not acceptable to May.

    Indeed, the entire association agreement with the Ukraine, which includes the DCFTA, is totally contingent on developing a near total regulatory alignment in matters of trade regulation, and ‘regulatory approximation’ in everything else. It is the complete opposite of ‘taking back control’, so if you hear any Brexiters talking about the DCFTA as a model for the UK, you know they’re talking out of their @rses.

    I suspect that Raab doesn’t think anyone listening to his interview would be bothered to go away and get to understand what the Ukraine/EU DCFTA actually says, but if anyone did, they will understand that this can’t have been the basis for our proposals, because they’re completely different.

    Is that a sufficient answer?

  32. @ALEC

    Actually ALEC that is the problem between policy and politics you have talked about policy and Raab understands that COLIN believes in tribe

    What I found astounding was COLIN’s reaction to the windrush affair. he said he found it comforting when Javid sad that Labour did not have a monopoly on outrage about the affair. I found it astounding that he felt good about that since the party he supported did as much to obfiscate the issue for such a long time that people died in virtual exile. However he went to bed feeling good because his tribe fought back even f they were wrong.

    I have a level of sympathy for May because she made the same mistake she made at that fateful dinner with Junker and Barnier. Everyone now feels better because we fought back at the hordes but what are we fighting back about. our redlines and their redlines are incompatible we voted for those red lines our problem is accepting the consequences and owning them.

    May understands this so as with windrush fighting back to make people feel good is all we have left but as I said reality take care of itself

  33. PTRP

    “we voted for those red lines”

    Well “I” voted for the EU “red lines” since they were both explicit and implicit in the EU treaties.

    Since May’s red lines didn’t appear until after she became PM, it’s not at all clear how “we” (the UK electorate) could have voted for them in the EU referendum.

    Her “red lines” were totally irrelevant to the 2017 election in NI (hence her support by DUP is irrelevant to that aspect of consent), so just who (and when) did any version of “we” vote for them?


    Firstly thanks for such a detailed reply, and clarifications on the impacts of the FTPA on the process.

    Specifically I hadn’t appreciated that the PM could lose a No Confidence vote, and then twist a few arms / grease a few palms and then ask the House to vote again. I suppose that would be particularly ironic given the framing of much opposition to a 2nd Brexit vote :-)

    I’d still say that if May thinks a GE is inevitable (or her least worst shot at surviving the overall situation) then the 2/3rds will be easily achieved and the 14 day process bypassed, but your point above makes it rather less likely that she would arrive at that inevitability!

    As to your questions on what the Queen would do in the 14 day window – I would imagine she’d take soundings from former PMs and others and see if there were a consensus between advisers on a viable candidate. If no consensus, or a consensus that there’s no-one who could hold it together, she’d simply run out the clock?

    And yes, I realise that being No Confidenced by the HoC doesn’t require her to resign as party leader, but I do think the scenarios are quite limited in which she could lose the HoC vote and deem it worth carrying on into a GE. More options than I realised tho!

  35. 13% for the Lib Dems does seem a bit out of line.

    Another curious feature of this poll is the drop from 6% to 2% for UKIP. Something is wrong there. Whatever the real underlying support for UKIP there’s no explanation whatsoever as to why that should have happened.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if these people are actually swinging between the Lib Dems and UKIP. It wouldn’t be the first time,

    Sizeable numbers of people move wholly irrationally between parties who offer seemingly easy, miracle answers depending on which one of them is on TV that week and regardless of what their policies are.

    As for the ‘deal’ what people regard as a ‘good deal’ however is nowhere near clear. And what exactly do they expect the Prime Minister or anyone else for that matter to do to get whatever deal it is that they think they want.

    In the case of Corbyn it’s even more bizarre. Regardless of whether they actually get it, at least with Mrs May and Boris Johnson we have some idea of what ‘deal’ they actually want .In the case of Corbyn we have no idea, let alone any suggestion it would ever be offered to him.

    Why would the EU, with its’ mostly conservative and neo liberal Governments offer a better deal to Corbyn who is more anti free trade than Mrs May?

    The Labour Party has even said that it will vote in Parliament against whatever deal is negotiated regardless of what it consists of.

    So are we to assume that 28% of people’s definition of a ‘good deal’ is one offered to Corbyn regardless of what it amounts to?

    The EU has also said that it regards Mrs May’s proposals as unacceptable because she won’t compromise, so why in Earth do more people think Boris Johnson would get a better deal than her?

    Presumably these people really mean that they don’t want a deal at all.

    I get the impression that large swathes of the public don’t know know enough about these issues to be asked about them at all, and those that do, have such diverse meanings behind their answers that the sum total of the numbers are meaningless.

  36. Sam,
    “Perhaps there is a chance of a deal. ”

    I think the piece you linked was written a day too early. However it goes on about the need for customs checks between GB and N.ireland. Certain supporters of the government regard this as unacceptable, though the tories as a whole probably wouldnt mind.

    “cant see it. may has painted herself even further into a corner. she cant really budge now – not that her party would let her.
    To be honest i thought she came across as slightly unhinged today.”

    The speech looks intended to appeal to hard leavers and keep them on board. Since they are the base of her support, that seems a sane move. But equally you are right and she comes across as scary to remainers and probably anyone who thinks a compromise is needed.

    So the effect of the speech is simultaneously to shore up tories against mass defection of leavers to the right, but at the same time push a few more towards remain. Exacty what the tories need if they quietly want the UK to remain in the EU.

    It is pretty much the opposite of normal political strategies, which almost always concentrate on trying to attract the middle.

    Pete B,
    “Follow the money. Once the EU realises it might not get its £40bn it might decide to magnanimously compromise.”

    What money? The Uk said it wants 2 years transition, so it would have to pay half that anyway. This money makes no difference at all to the EU budget in the future which will have to be financed by the remaining members. Its irrelevant to them. Now, if you say the Uk is willing to pay £40bn a year, every year, for its deal, then they might start paying attention. (this may happen yet!)

    ” he said he found it comforting when Javid sad that Labour did not have a monopoly on outrage about the affair”

    Didnt we have polling that a number of voters – concentrating under the tory banner – are outraged at foreign born people having the right to live in the UK? So plainly tories are outraged over windrush, just rather the opposite way. I thought it pretty clear that while the tories might express shock at what hapened, they were also relying upon their supporters quietly approving what had been done. Its a have cake and eat it approach.

  37. Edge of Reason/ Roger Mexico.

    It’s almost inconceivable that Mrs May could lose a Vote of No Confidence and then ‘twist a few arms’ and win a second one.

    Why wouldn’t she ‘twist them’ first time round?

    The Government would fall if she lost such a vote and someone else would be called upon. (It wouldn’t have to be Corbyn). But if Mrs May fell, I can’t see how anyone else could form a Government with the Parties and Remain/Leave mathematics in the House, as they are.

    But it’s not likely she’d lose a simple vote of No Confidence anyway. It would require the opposition to propose it,. (which Corbyn likely wouldn’t; although the SNP ,might.

    But not even the most difficult Tory MP would express straight No Confidence. They’d be deselected automatically.

    It is conceivable however that she might lose a vote on something to do with Brexit, which she herself, as a last stand, had designated a Vote of No Confidence.

    The reason being that in those circumstances, a few Tories might just stick to their Leave/Remain guns and the pro Brexit Labour rebels wouldn’t bail her out because it was a Confidence Vote.

    But I don’t think she’ll designate anything as a Confidence Vote. I think she’ll face the House down and tell them that if they don’t back whatever deal she gets then we’ll be leaving with No Deal.

    Parliament doesn’t have to vote to sanction Leaving with ‘No Deal’. It happens automatically under Article 50 (4) by operation of UK, EU, and International Law at 11pm on March 29th 2019, unless the Government applies to remain longer.

    Which they won’t and there’s nothing Parliament can do make them. ‘Resolutions of House’ are not Law.

    All Parliament can do is bring its own Vote of No Confidence and bring down the Government, which owing to the Parliamentary arithmetic will most definitely provoke a General Election and the Tory MPs who caused it will be deselected.

    What the outcome of the General Election would be is anyone’s guess but it’s unlikely to take us closer to a resolution.

    The key factor in all this is that Article 50 requires us to Leave on March 29th unless we have a Government in place with a Parliamentary majority to do something else. Which seems highly unlikely.

    I doubt if it will come to all this. Frau Merkel and Macron are not daft. It’s significant we never hear from them until crucial moments. The real negotiations are going on behind the scenes and they’ll give just as much as they have to, and enough Tory MPs will just about be able to stomach it to stop us falling into an abyss.

    It’s not impossible that some pro deal Labour MPs will abstain on the deal vote to allow it to proceed. Its noticeable that whenever there’s been a close but vital vote which the Government could easily have lost because Remainers rebelled, they mysteriously seem to win it by one or two votes.

    There’s often more to politics than meets the eye.

    Mrs May might be more secure than we think. It’s been noticeable in the past week that Hard Brexit newspapers like the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Sun have been rallying around Mrs May and the Chequers agreement.

    The ‘deal’ will be ‘Blind Brexit’ and we will Leave, go into the Transition period, pay out the ‘Divorce Settlement’, and proceed piecemeal in the years and decades to come. Just as we’ve doing for decades which we were in.

  38. ALEC


    I had a look myself. Not sure how much difference there is between Ukraine’s undertaking to move to the sort of Legal Architecture UK & EU operate under ; and the Chequers proposal re trade in Goods.

    I think Raab was just making the point that EU has all sorts of different arrangements with different countries . Chequers is not unusual in that respect.

    I think it will come down to whether it can actually operate on the ground , every day. It looks as though Barnier’s movement on NI is like this-which products need checking , where & when & by whom.

    As NeilA implied-if we are moving beyond political posturing to technical feasibility, I think we stand a chance.

    I still refuse to believe that Europe’s political leaders cannot resolve this & create an mutually beneficial arrangement with UK after Brexit.


    @” and proceed piecemeal in the years and decades to come. Just as we’ve doing for decades which we were in.”

    An excellent point.

  40. OLDNAT

    @”In any negotiating position, it’s quite reasonable (though not necessarily sensible) to be “uncompromising”, if you think you “hold all the cards” (as the extreme Brexiteers put it).”

    I agree that it it isn’t necessarily sensible-particularly in the case of the totality of relationships between countries. Sadly the EU have thought that it is sensible.

    @”If you don’t have many cards to play, and you actually want a compromise deal, then it’s a somewhat foolish strategy.”

    Well if you feel that your comparative position is so weak, there would hardly be any point in negotiating at all. You would just accept the other sides will I presume.

    I do recognise that many in UK perceive UK’s position to be like this.Fortunately the PM doesn’t seem to share that view.

  41. Mrs May thinks that the EU, having rejected the Chequers plan, should now propose the UK’s framework for a trade deal.

    “Sir, – The powers that be in Britain seem to think that the EU is leaving the UK. The superiority complex is intact. – Yours, etc,”

  42. Why do I get the feeling that if we do, eventually, get an Agreement Very Very Lite, it will be what we could’ve had 2 years ago, if the whole thing had not been approached in such an adversarial manner.
    We could then have spent that time preparing the country for March. As it is we do have the transition period, which provides a buffer, but if the deal is going to be Lite there will be a lot of infrastructure and system changes for UK PLC to implement with the possibility of businesses etc abandoning ship, increasing inflation and labour shortages.


    Agree re: we could have got here 2 years ago.

    We’re still in the starting blocks because of internal Tory party politics – pass the hot potato?

  44. @Colin – “Not sure how much difference there is between Ukraine’s undertaking to move to the sort of Legal Architecture UK & EU operate under ; and the Chequers proposal re trade in Goods.”

    They are very different in some specific ways – ultimate ECJ oversight and the fact that Ukraine is committing to move towards full, legally binding regulatory conformity whereas the UK wants the freedom to diverge.

    However, I would agree that it does demonstrate a flexibility, particularly in the four freedoms, which is not currently on offer to the UK.

    I suspect that part of this is that the Ukraine is on the way in to the EU, with the thinking being that ultimately they are likely to become a full member so such deviations are tolerable, whereas the UK is on the way out, and so the excuses for flexing the rules are less acceptable.

    I also suspect that May’s red lines were just too numerous, and I think if we can move to an arrangement of ECJ interpretation like the Ukraine deal (an arbitration panel, but when this can’t agree a binding referral to the ECJ), allow a semblance of preferential free movement to EU nationals, and deal with NI, along with paying something for the deal on an ongoing basis, then we’ll have a deal.

    The problem is that we keep posing too many red lines and then ask for too much.

  45. I put up this link for Neil A. I may be forgiven, I hope, for putting it up again.

    In July, Chris Grey put forward reasons why the Chequers plan would be unacceptable to the EU. It would also be bad for the UK.

    “Admittedly it would not be as bad as no deal at all. But the idea that a service-based economy, with a large services trade surplus with the EU-27, would seek a deal that excluded services would be seen as crazy in any world other than the topsy-turvy one of Brexit. As would the idea of creating at enormous expense, in unknown timescales and with unknown efficacy a customs system to replicate something that already exists and works. There is no conceivable economic upside to this (certainly not in terms of the supposed benefit of an independent trade policy)……

    ….This is the latest of the endless contortions which reflect the fundamental structural paradox of Brexit: that it must be done and yet it must not be done. As such, they will not end with the meeting at Chequers, but will continue until one or other side of that paradox is disowned, whether by force of politics or simply by the elapse of time as the Article 50 clock – started by Britain – winds inexorably down to zero. In these things, too, the government is reaping what it has sown.”

    The “structural paradox” to which Grey refers is that there are two imperatives for the government: there must be a hard Brexit but it must do no economic damage. Hence the need to leave the EU but retain all its benefits.

    Reality is that hard Brexit is not an imperative but a desire of some Brexiteers. The Labour party might profit from moving its stance towards remaining in the Single Market.

  46. JAMES E

    It is incorrect to say we will not need to make a payment to the EU should we leave without a deal. We are legally obligated to make payments for projects within the EU we are committed to.
    What it will mean is that our payment will be lower and somewhere in the region of 20 billion instead of 39 billion.

  47. Chequers only ever only ever offered a solution to the NI issue, but never took into account the EU’s red line on how you qualify for the single market. So in a sense it showed the insular thinking in the UK government, which may be understandable in the light of the pre-occupation with keeping the lid on the ERG.

    What HMG seem to have never done is looked at Brexit from the EU27’s perspective, it’s all been us, us us.

  48. EU-Ukraine deal
    Full text is huge but IfG have a nice summary of that and other options:

    Key part on p20:

    “Disputes are resolved by an ordinary arbitration panel – but with a special preliminary ruling procedure that ties Ukraine indirectly to the ECJ”

    The “arbitration panel” is a sham. If they “happen upon” the answer ECJ wanted then great, but if not ECJ can put their foot down. Its a but like LAB’s 3quid membership and NEC ;)

    Possibly for the first time, in like forever, ALEC is almost right about something Brexit related!!

    Some Brexiteers maybe thought we could go this route a while back then when ECJ enforced something we didn’t like we could rip up the agreement but EC aren’t fools and Gove put the final nail in that coffin with his recent “fix it later” talk.

    P.S. I’ll resist the temptation to point out the destabilising impact that EU’s “deals” with Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia created or make any reference to Napolean, Kaiser or H1tler’s experiences in previous Eastern Expansion efforts.
    P.P.S. We export about 0.5bn/yr to Ukraine, 10years ago (ie before EU struck a deal with them) it was nearer 1bn/yr (ie since the EU deal our exports to them went down!) So no rush for Fox to copy other that EU deal or any of the other ones that are basically Empire building deals.

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