BBC host forced to intervene as huge row erupts between MEPs – ‘you said Brits are a mess’

A HUGE row erupted between Labour MEP Seb Dance and Brexiteer MEP David Campbell Bannerman after the Remainer blamed Britain’s Leave supporters for creating a “mess” out of Brexit.

Speaking on David’s last day in Brussels as an MEP (having packed up his flat and office!) he debates a Labour MEP arguing strongly that MEP elections are wrong and shouldn’t be held

You can listen to the BBC Radio 4 clip recording here:

The heated debate began when Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman called for Britain to leave the European Union with no deal and then do a full comprehensive free trade agreement, often referred to as a “Super Canada” deal, with the Brussels bloc. BBC host John Humphrys then pointed out how the Labour MEP was “turning his nose up” and “sneering” at the prospect of a so-called super-Canada deal.

Mr Campbell Bannerman attempted to defend calls for a comprehensive free trade agreement and insisted it was “entirely doable” and “what the EU wants”.

But the Labour MEP hit back and said: “It’s not what businesses are calling for either.”

The Tory MEP blasted: “You want frictionless trade. That’s the problem all along.”

Mr Dance insisted he does was frictionless trade in the same way Britain has it as an EU member. But the Tory Brexiteer fired back and said: “That’s created the political crisis, Seb. You are responsible for it.

“You and Labour, you made that.”

The Labour MEP replied: “Don’t blame us for this mess. This is your programme and not mine.”

Mr Bannerman Campbell blasted: “Sorry but do you think the British people are a mess too? You know that nearly 60 percent of Labour constituencies back Leave. You don’t actually respect that result.”

The pair continued to shout over each other and the BBC host was forced to intervene. Mr Humphrys said: “Hang on a second and let him finish his point.”

Mr Dance added: “The Brexit that was sold in 2016, the prospectus that was sold in 2016 is so markedly different from all of the options that are now on the table, including what you now appear to be advocating, i.e. a no deal.

“The idea that there is somehow a mandate for no deal on the basis of the campaign in 2016 is clearly wrong.

“So, the idea that you shouldn’t check now that what the deliverable options are is what the British people would want is, I think, profoundly democratic.”

The UK has until April 10 to come up with a new Brexit plan – or may face leaving the union without a deal two days later on April 12.

EU leaders are due to meet at a summit on April 10, where Mrs May will be expected to present her new deal. But last week, European Commission president Donald Tusk offered the UK a lengthy delay to Brexit, of up to one year.

You can see the article as it appeared here.

How to get Brexit back on track when the Withdrawal Agreement is rejected by MPs

The current political turmoil and constitutional crisis has so many twists and turns that it makes House of Cards look pedestrian.

Of course the real issue comes down to what happens when – rather than if – the proposed deal is voted down on tomorrow, 11th December (or even dropped).

Here there is a clear gap opening up between media reports and hard legal reality – what the actual effects are of the political manoeuvring of Dominic Grieve, Sir Keir Starmer and their merry conniving bands. There have been desperate media reports that ‘no deal’ is off the table, when it is actually remains the ‘default position’ as Andrea Leadsom told Radio 4 just last week.

Let’s assume Conservative MPs think there is enough turkey on Christmas menus not to be part of the required two-thirds majority needed to vote for a General Election, and that the EU have indeed ruled out any major renegotiation.

The bottom line is that the various options being desperately pushed by those who want ‘anything but a true Brexit’ are just not viable. There is:

  • ‘Norway Plus’ – even worse that the slavish EEA, which adds back membership of the customs union, thereby killing all future UK trade deals, and with no control of immigration, no say over EU laws, and large payments;
  • A ‘Second Referendum’ – with its totally confused offer: ‘tell us if this final 2,000-page deal is better than staying in the EU when we’ve already left. Oh, and by the way you will have to join the euro and lose the rebate’. Pointless too in that Leave is predicted to win again; or
  • Extending Article 50 to allow more muddle time – which will either mess up the EU by landing the Brexit issue right in the middle of European Parliament elections in May or mess up all the groups, chairmanships and procedures of the European Parliament in the farcical situation of British MEPs being elected for a few months.

But all such amendments to the motion are not legally binding anyway – they can only be advisory. They might bring political pressure, but they do not have legal effect. As the Commons Chief Clerk, Sir David Natzler, confirmed: whatever MPs vote on by way of motion “has no statutory significance”, as they do not constitute “a vote on whether to accept or reject no deal.” That requires new legislation. The actual law – in the EU Withdrawal Act – states clearly that we will leave on 29th March 2019.

Given that reality, and bearing in mind how rash it is to try to indicate a way forward in this maelstrom, this is what I propose now as the best next steps:

1) Assuming the vote fails on 11th December, or is put off, I believe the Government should make a statement immediately saying that preparations for a ‘no deal’ option – better called a ‘Clean Global Brexit’ or ‘World Trade Deal’ – will go into SuperDrive. Sorry, but defer Christmas!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way: in the Falklands War, the Ministry of Defence managed to put together a task force of 100 ships in just 48 hours. We can manage this process, and thousands of civil servants have been on the case for years. Like the Millennium Bug, claims of Armageddon and planes falling out the sky gave way to nothing happening on 1st January 2000.

2) The UK should then go back to Brussels, not to renegotiate this current draft Withdrawal Agreement, but to agree a pared-down, bare bones emergency series of bilateral agreements covering only the essential ‘must haves’: aviation, customs, citizens’ rights, medical products, European Investment Bank assets etc. The beauty of this is that if one agreement falls, then the others are not lost. The DUP’s Arlene Foster has proposed bilaterals. These bilaterals could be agreed by Westminster and the EU by March, and would any sane MP or MEP dare to seek to derail any such vital preparation in these circumstances? They should hold all further Westminster business, such as the Immigration and Trade bills, that may be hijacked.

3) The UK should also formally advise the EU that it wishes to accept the offer made not once but three times by the EU: that of a SuperCanada/CETA+++ Free Trade Agreement with 100{6c073e6ddc991e32b987c2976a0494c1ef7e7c4976e02d56946b9937f4a8f0f4} tariff- and quota-free access to the EU Single Market plus comprehensive services (first offered by Donald Tusk on 7th March), and which we could start negotiating from the day we become a ‘third country’ – 30th March next year.

We can build on the three pages on trade in the more appealing draft Political Declaration, but drop all notion of a ‘Single Customs Territory’ – the UK must firmly leave the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market. We are in a unique position to negotiate an FTA fast – as all our laws are convergent at present and we don’t have to spend years wrangling over which tariffs to keep or get rid of, as others do.

4) Having initiated moves to agree a SuperCanada FTA, the UK and EU can now jointly notify the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that in the light of working to agree a comprehensive FTA and future Political Declaration, we are invoking Article 24 of GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).

This is important because Article 24 allows us to maintain the same tariff-free access to both our markets without breaching WTO discriminatory Most Favoured Nation (MFN) laws. Article 24 allows “an interim agreement leading to a formation of a free trade area” and allows “a reasonable length of time” – up to 10 years – to negotiate it.

So, we whilst we will need customs declarations under WTO, we will be able to maintain the same zero tariffs as now with the EU – the free trade area will remain. EU exporters to the UK would save £13 billion in tariffs (and our consumers too) and UK exporters £5 billion. We will also be free to lower tariffs for other trading partners as we wish – something specifically excluded in the Backstop. Nor should there be any Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) either under WTO agreements.

We can also enact the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement which recently came into force that obliges the EU27 to adopt measures like authorised economic operators (trusted traders), which are part of the solution for the Northern Ireland border issue along with electronic declarations and remote checks away from the border.

5) As a sign of Britain’s free trade intent, we can now immediately initiate full and unfettered negotiations with international trade partners such as the USA, China and India, without these deals being torpedoed by being tied into the EU Customs Union, Chequers or the Backstop. The picture would be clear at last, and not be delayed by unending years of transition. Similarly, we will seek to build on current work to ‘roll over’ the benefits and obligations of existing EU trade deals such as that with South Korea.

6) So, on 30th March the UK can be cleanly out of the European Union and back into the world, with an acceptable and managed World Trade Deal option in place, free of years more wrangling over transitional arrangements, cost demands, alternative models and heightened business uncertainty – and with negotiations underway for a closer SuperCanada trade deal. We can reallocate much of the £39 billion payment lost by the EU to compensate UK-based companies legally in terms of R&D, regional aid and transport infrastructure – helping to stimulate our economy.

Like an operation we know needs doing, let us get on with the surgery quickly and speed up the recovery process.

This is indeed a Clean Global Brexit. Brexit could be over in a few months, rather than drag on for years on end.

And, for all our sakes – both Remainer and Brexiteer – let’s just get it done.

You can see David’s piece as it appears at brexitcentral here.

David Campbell Bannerman MEP gives oral evidence to the Exiting the EU Committee

UK Parliament – Exiting the European Union Committee (House of Commons): On 21 March 2018, the Joint-Spokesman on International Trade for the Conservatives in the European Parliament, David Campbell Bannerman MEP was invited to give oral evidence to UK MPs on the Exiting the EU Committee in the House of Commons on ‘The progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal’. He spoke specifically on the subject of his ‘SuperCanada‘ and Irish border policy paper proposals to a full contingent of the Committee’s MPs across six political parties, including the Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, and Plaid Cymru.

You can also download a transcript of the Q&A evidence (pdf) by clicking here.

David Campbell Bannerman MEP Welcomes Decision To Allow Ministers to Campaign for Either Side in Brexit Referendum.

Writing in the Telegraph of the 5th January 2016,  David Campbell Bannerman MEP welcomed the news that Prime Minister David Cameron will allow his Ministers to campaign for either side in the Brexit Referendum once the renegotiation process has ended.  This is likely to take place next month following the European Leaders Summit on the 19th of February.   The MEP noted that as many as nine Cabinet Ministers could back the campaign to leave the EU.

See the full story here.

David Campbell Bannerman also praised the Prime Minister for his ‘wise and courageous decision’ in the Huffington Post.  The MEP noted that ‘Mr Cameron was sensible and enlightened to allow his ministers the freedom to campaign on whichever side they desire. It took courage and sound political nous.’   Moreover, the decision was ‘in the best interest of democratic politics more generally. The last thing an already cynical public want to see are the most senior politicians forced to back something they simply do not believe in, on such a massive issue of principle, just in the name of collective responsibility. There is a big enough democratic deficit and distrust of politicians as there is.’

David speaks at Iran Freedom rally in Paris

David Campbell Bannerman speaking at the Iran Freedom Conference

Click on the image to view the speech on YouTube

David Campbell Bannerman, MEP for the Eastern Counties, addressed the major ‘Iran Freedom’ rally in Villeprinte on Saturday 13th of June 2015.  The event was held at Parc des Expositions exhibition center just outside of Paris.

The MEP condemned the regime’s gross human rights violations which includes the mass executions of political opponents.  David Campbell Bannerman also criticised the visit of the head of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to Iran as being naive.  He also said that Iran’s nuclear programme posed a great risk to the international community.

You can read a transcript of David Campbell Bannerman’s speech here.

David Campbell Bannerman Helps Launch ‘Conservatives for Britain’ Group

Conservative party logo with Union Flag

Interviewed in the Telegraph, Co-Chair of the ‘Conservatives for Britain’ Group David Campbell Bannerman MEP said that ‘If the EU is not willing to return significiant powers to our shores,  then Britain should leave. ‘  The MEP went on to say of the Group that ‘We will set out what we believe needs to be achieved in the Renegotiation process if Britain is to remain a member of the EU.  Restricting freedom of movement of EU citizens and making the UK Parliament sovereign over EU law are likely to feature heavily in our agenda.’ Read the full story in The Telegraph here.


David Campbell Bannerman was also interviewed on the R5L show Pienaar’s Politics’:


The launch was also covered by BBC Radio Four News:


David Campbell Bannerman MEP was also interviewed by ConservativeHome on the launch of the new Group.  You can read the interview here.

David Campbell Bannerman Demands Radical EU Reforms

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph on the 31st May 2015,  David Campbell Bannerman  demanded that Cameron’s EU reform must not be a ‘sham’.  The MEP for the Eastern Counties said that Prime Minister has the opportunity to be radical and must take it.

Read more here.

The Daily Star picked up the story and reported that ‘Tory MEP David Campbell Bannerman told Mr Cameron he must deliver radical reforms because the public would not accept a “sham” deal.’

Read more here.

David Campbell Bannerman MEP Interviewed on R5L on UKIP Split

During his interview on R5L ‘Question Time Extra Time’ on Thursday 14th of May, David Campbell Bannerman,  Conservative MEP for the Eastern Counties, said that the Nigel Farage’s resignation and the UKP split was ‘farcical and entertaining’ .  The MEP said that Patrick O’Flynn’s attack on Nigel Farage was ‘extraordinary’  and that it was a very personal attack from Mr O’Flynn who was UKIP’s General Election Campaign Director.  David Campbell Bannerman MEP went on to say that with the Conservative victory at the General Election,  UKIP had lost its unique selling point as the Conservative Government will now deliver a Brexit Referendum.

David Campbell Bannerman MEP Appears on Share Radio’s Simon Rose Evening Show

ShareRadio logoDavid Campbell Bannerman MEP appeared on new digital radio station – Share Radio – to talk about the failures and cost of the EU.  The MEP was also given the opportunity to discuss his plan for Britain to have an EEA Lite relationship with the EU once the country had left the European superstate.

Share Radio is a new independent radio station which is based in Westminster and broadcasts to Greater London on digital radio and to the rest of the country via its website. The station focuses on money and investment matters in the UK. The website can be found here –

David Campbell Bannerman wins membership ballot

I am delighted that my candidacy for re-election as a Eurosceptic MEP has been endorsed by the wider party membership, and I am grateful and humbled by all the support I have received from members, since I re-joined the party.

They are the grass-roots supporters, who work the hardest for this party giving up their own time and often their own money, in the pursuit of what they know is right for this country.

As a party, we now need to honour what the membership has said and run a strong campaign that will show the natural home for Eurosceptics is the Conservative party.

It is only the Conservative party, not UKIP, that is in a position to regain British Sovereignty and powers from Brussels through an In/Out EU Referendum and we need to make sure we communicate that to all the British people that understand our best interests lie in a new and better relationship with the EU.