John Kerr

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Person.png Lord Kerr   PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(diplomat, businessman)
John Kerr.jpg
Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, United Kingdom
Member ofBilderberg/Steering committee, European Leadership Network, Königswinter/Speakers, Trilateral Commission
Scottish businessman and diplomat, attended all Bilderbergs from 2004 up to 2016

Employment.png Member of the House of Lords Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
30 June 2004 - Present

Employment.png Scottish American Investment Company/Director

In office
18 September 2002 - 4 April 2019

Not to be confused with the John Kerr whom the CIA termed "our man Kerr" in the Australia/1975 coup d'état.

John Olav Kerr, Baron Kerr of Kinlochard is a Scottish politician and former diplomat, later Deputy Chairman of Scottish Power and a crossbench member of the House of Lords. He was a member of the Convention on the Future of Europe that first drafted what became Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in December 2009.[1]


John Kerr was British Representative to the European Union from 1990 to 1995, then British Ambassador to the United States until 1997.

He joined the Foreign Office in 1966 and was posted as Third later Second Secretary to Moscow in 1967; Second Secretary (Econ) Rawalpindi/Islamabad 1969; First Secretary 1971; FCO 1972; Private Secretary to the PUS 1974; Counsellor and Head of DM Division HM Treasury 1979; PPS to the Chancellor of the Exchequer 1981; Counsellor and Head of Chancery Washington 1984.[2]

Brexit is reversible

In November 2017 on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, Lord Kerr said the EU treaty allows the UK to change its mind up to moment of leaving:

“At any stage we can change our minds if we want to, and if we did we know that our partners would actually be very pleased indeed. The Brexiters create the impression that is because of the way Article 50 is written that having sent in a letter on 29 March 2017 we must leave automatically on 29 March 2019 at the latest. That is not true. It is misleading to suggest that a decision that we are taking autonomously in this country about the timing of our departure, we are required to take by a provision of EU treaty law.”

Kerr was asked to clarify whether the UK could still halt Brexit even if a date was set on the face of the EU Withdrawal Bill:

“That’s what I’m saying, one should bear in mind that it is always possible at a later stage to decide that we want to do something different. It is entirely up to the Prime Minister to set a date for our departure. My point is quite a different one. These decisions are taken entirely in this country, they have nothing to do with the treaty. As far as the treaty is concerned there are lots of options. There is a provision to seek some extra time for negotiation and, much more important, there’s the ability at any stage to take back the letter that the Prime Minister sent to President Tusk on 29 March 2017."

Kerr was asked about David Davis’s view that the EU Referendum result was an “irrevocable moment”. He replied:

“The David Davis quote I would offer you comes from 2012 when he said:
‘A democracy that has lost the right to change its mind has ceased to be a democracy.’
“I’m not a politician. I’m just the guy who wrote the treaty telling you what the treaty means.”

Kerr claimed that circumstances had changed since the referendum:

“It is open to us to argue that the terms as they emerge are not quite the ones that we were led to expect: that the costs of coming out are rather different from what it said on the side of the battlebus; that the complexity of coming out was not entirely explained and the effects of coming out on, for example, the NHS or jobs, these things are not what the electorate knew about at the time. If new facts emerge one is entitled to change one’s view, as Keynes said. I’m not today arguing for a second referendum, I’m saying if we wanted to have a second referendum there is nothing in the treaty, or in the attitude of EU partners, that would prevent us taking the time to have one.”[3]


John Kerr is a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/20043 June 20046 June 2004Italy
The 52nd such meeting. 126 recorded guests
Bilderberg/20055 May 20058 May 2005Germany
The 53rd Bilderberg, 132 guests
Bilderberg/20068 June 200611 June 2006Canada
54th Bilderberg, held in Canada. 133 guests
Bilderberg/200731 May 20073 June 2007Turkey
The 55th Bilderberg meeting, held in Turkey
Bilderberg/20085 June 20088 June 2008US
The 56th Bilderberg, Chantilly, Virginia, 139 guests
Bilderberg/200914 May 200917 May 2009Greece
The 57th Bilderberg
Bilderberg/20103 June 20106 June 2010Spain
Hotel Dolce Sitges
Bilderberg/20119 June 201112 June 2011Switzerland
Hotel Suvretta
St. Moritz
59th meeting, in Switzerland, 129 guests
Bilderberg/201231 May 20123 June 2012US
The 58th Bilderberg, in Chantilly, Virginia. Unusually just 4 years after an earlier Bilderberg meeting there.
Bilderberg/20136 June 20139 June 2013Watford
The 2013 Bilderberg group meeting.
Bilderberg/201429 May 20141 June 2014Denmark
Marriott Hotel
Bilderberg/201511 June 201514 June 2015Austria
Bilderberg/20169 June 201612 June 2016Germany
The 2016 Bilderberg meeting took place in Dresden, Germany.