Welcome to the ‘Twelve Lies of Brexit’, where we will be unwrapping the biggest porkies told by senior Leave politicians.
Let’s start with the obvious:
The lie on the side of a bus
Perhaps the most famous of the Brexit lies, Boris Johnson championed an outlandish, fraudulent promise on the side of his Vote Leave bus in 2016.
The claim that we send £350 million a week to the EU is just not true, let alone the idea that this imaginary money could instead be used for the NHS.
Johnson knew it was a lie, but he put it on a bus anyway. In the words of the Head of the Office of National Statistics, it was “a clear misuse of official statistics”.
Many people voted Leave in the hope that it would help the NHS.
Unfortunately, Brexit is very dangerous for the NHS. Here’s why:
- The economy will be negatively affected, so the government will have less to spend on the NHS.
- We’ve already lost 5000 EU health workers, and more will go.
- The Tories are planning on taxing EU doctors and nurses.
- The NHS could be up for grabs in a Trump trade deal.
We’ll stop Brexit, give the NHS £35 billion, and fix our broken mental health services. That’s the sort of Christmas present the NHS needs and deserves!
All we want for Christmas is EU.
2. 'The easiest trade deal in human history'
We're unwrapping the twelve biggest lies of Brexit!— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) December 2, 2019
Here's the second deeply questionable statement, courtesy of Liam Fox.
Turns out it hasn’t been as easy as he promised 👇https://t.co/c60zNMDC1I pic.twitter.com/OaItMb4POu
"The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.” – Liam Fox
This statement hasn’t aged well. Brexit has claimed two Prime Ministers so far, and potentially a third.
It has proved impossible to get a Withdrawal Agreement that everyone is happy with, let alone a free trade deal.
Philip Rycroft, who was the Permanent Secretary for Department for Exiting the European Union said; “it’s going to be a huge negotiation, probably four or five times bigger than the withdrawal agreement negotiation, and will absorb a huge amount of government effort.”
This is the reality of the situation. A trade deal would take years to negotiate with the European Union. Our economy would suffer in the meantime, as will our public services.
The Liberal Democrats wouldn’t embark on negotiations that will take years and leave our country worse off at the end of them.
We will Stop Brexit immediately, and spend the £50 billion ‘Remain Bonus’ on our public services.
We will work to solve the problems in our society that led people to vote Leave, rather than waste time in pointless negotiations with the EU.
In the immortal words of East 17, "Won't you stay another day...stay now, stay now, stay now"
3. The UK economy is performing strongly
“The UK economy is performing strongly,” said Kwasi Kwarteng, Conservative Business Minister, “much more strongly than [the] doom-mongers and naysayers have suggested.”
Unfortunately, Mr Kwarteng was lying. Brexit has already caused a vast amount of damage to the UK economy.
The Centre for European Reform have said that Brexit has cost the UK economy £70 billion. That’s the equivalent of £840 for every house hold each year.
Our economy is 2.9% smaller than it would have been if we’d remained in the European Union.
And we haven’t even left yet. If Brexit goes ahead, there are varying predictions of how bad it will be, based around the way in which we leave. But it will be bad.
Brexit has already been an appalling waste of money that we could have invested to make Britain a better place.
Whilst the Tories and Labour are preoccupied with ideological fantasies, the Liberal Democrats produced the only manifesto that the IFS called ‘credible’.
The Liberal Democrats would stop Brexit, and invest the £50 billion Remain Bonus in public services.
Last Christmas, I gave EU my heart...
4. No Single Market For Services
We're unwrapping the twelve biggest lies of Brexit! 🎄— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) December 4, 2019
Fourth on our festive misinformation list, this completely untrue claim from Gove.
There is actually a single market for services 👇https://t.co/c60zNMDC1I pic.twitter.com/tu2sVN58gj
This disinformation comes courtesy of Michael Gove. He claimed on Radio 4 that “At the moment we do not have a single market for services even within the European Union.
This is just plain wrong. Services account for 80% of the UK economy, 45% of exports, and companies and customers alike enjoy single market access.
In our current deal, we have 25 per cent of typical barriers for services than if we were outside the European Union.
If we leave the European Union, barriers will be placed for trade in services, and the UK economy will take a massive hit.
In the words of Alan Winters, Head of the UK Trade Policy Observatory, “[after Brexit] It’s going to be way worse. It looks as if there is very little that is being seriously negotiated on services.”
We will also sacrifice the opportunity to expand trade within the single market if we leave the European Union.
Britain is incredibly strong in financial services, technology and education. It’s vital that we run the country in a manner that maximises the opportunities for these sectors.
The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit so we don’t jeopardise our economic development.
Don't let it be a Bleu Christmas...
5. No forms, no checks, no barriers...
This is a biggie from the Prime Minister. He recently told an assembled audience in Northern Ireland that; “there will be no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind [between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK].”
It’s guaranteed that if we leave the European Union, and there’s a border down the Irish sea, then there will be paperwork, checks and barriers.
The government’s Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, agrees. He testified before a Parliamentary Committee that Northern Irish businesses will need to complete “exit summary declarations”.
The prospect of checks and barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK creates more division and will create economic chaos.
Johnson hasn’t actually put forward concrete proposals of how trade will work, and the practicalities surrounding this proposed border.
Instead, when questioned, he lies about it instead of coming clean.
The Liberal Democrats would respect the Good Friday Agreement, and not pursue a reckless Brexit that jeopardises it.
Brussels: an essential part of any Christmas dinner…
6. The Union Will Be Stronger If We Leave
“If we vote to leave then I think the union will be stronger” - Michael Gove.
This is a completely indefensible argument.
The Scottish Nationalist Party are calling for a new independence referendum, using the vote to leave the European Union as a way to drive their argument.
This would be a disaster for Scotland, and the rest of the UK.
The Good Friday Agreement, which is a pillar of the United Kingdom’s unity, stands to be undermined by the Conservatives.
Even Welsh independence is slightly more popular than it was before the referendum.
The Tories have opened up a pandoras box of nationalism that they can’t control. They are seeking to exploit divisions within our family of nations.
The Liberal Democrats are standing between the Tories and the break up of the United Kingdom. We’re fighting to keep our country together, and within the European Union.
Chuka taking an elfie...
7. Pottery Business Up The Wall
We’re unwrapping the twelve lies of Brexit. 🎁— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) December 7, 2019
It’s #SmallBusinessSaturday, and this one relates to the pottery industry.
Turns out the former trade minister was guilty of a “proliferation of guff” when talking about the industry 👇https://t.co/c60zNMDC1I pic.twitter.com/22MrHroCpR
Remaining in the Customs Union would mean pottery businesses would “go to the wall”. – Former Trade Minister, Greg Hands
This is one of many completely baseless claims made by senior politicians to justify their reckless course of action in the minds of the voting public.
The British Ceramic Confederation said the “yarn spun by Greg was work of fantasy to rival anything JRR Tolkien or George RR Martin could manage.”
The industry “strongly supports” staying in the Customs Union and that Greg Hands’ claims were the “sort of proliferation of guff that is fuelling the current political crisis and driving the UK economy off a cliff edge.”
Uncertainty is taking its toll on industries across the country, like the ceramics industry. If Johnson forces the country down his preferred path, all we get is more uncertainty. The government can’t rule out a no deal event still happening, which would be disastrous for British industry.
The best option for businesses across the country is to stop Brexit. This is why businesses have swung behind the Liberal Democrats; we are the true party of business.
What is Boris Johnson’s least-favourite Christmas film?
8. No Barriers To Trade
“Within minutes of a vote for Brexit the CEO’s of Mercedes, BMW, VW and Audi will be knocking down Chancellor Merkel’s door demanding that there be no barriers to German access to the British market” – David Davis
This is wrong on so many levels.
David Davis is living in a Brexit fantasy land, and risking our future prosperity in the process.
It’s clear what the car industry wants; to remain in the European Union.
- BMW wrote to all its UK employees in Rolls-Royce and Mini opposing
- A survey of the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders found that 77% of its members wanted to remain in the EU.
- Nissan and Toyota, both big investors in the UK car industry, want Britain to remain in the EU.
- Honda’s CEO has said that "Anything that weakens our ability to trade with the EU region would be detrimental to UK manufacturing".
The Liberal Democrats want Britain’s car industry to remain a global success story, which it can continue to be inside the European Union. We won’t risk the industry and the jobs by leaving the EU in a blind ideological fashion.
Why does Boris keep his Christmas cards on the mantlepiece?
Because his cabinet keeps falling apart.
9. No Regression On Rights
Workers’ rights would be even further watered down in Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement when compared to May’s. This phrase of ‘no regression’ replaced an entire section of May’s deal, which was dedicated to protecting workers’ rights. But this is exactly what Johnson wants.
The economic argument for Brexit, put forward by Johnson, Farage and their financial backers is one of de-regulation.
They want to turn London in to ‘Singapore on Thames’, and transform Britain into a low tax and low regulation economy.
Hard fought and won workers’ rights don’t fit into this economic model.
As such, this ‘no regression’ clause has not been backed up with any legal certainty. As TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady put it; "we still have no legally binding guarantee that UK rights will keep pace with EU minimum standards."
Do you really trust Boris Johnson to protect workers’ rights outside the EU?
We don’t. Johnson is the least trustworthy politician in modern British political history. We don’t trust him to do right by the British public. That’s why we’re fighting to stop him.
We wish EU a merry Christmas
10. Most Of The Work Has Already Been Done
"I think most of the work has already been done. We already start from a position where the EU and the UK is aligned, we’re agreed on all the key principles.” – Sajid Javid
Here, Sajid Javid is continuing the narrative that getting a free trade agreement with the EU will be the easiest thing in the world. It won’t be.
Sir Ivan Rogers, who resigned in 2017 as the senior civil servant dealing with Brexit after the EU referendum, said; “government Ministers either repeatedly continue to get wrong, or choose to mislead the British public…the fact of “being aligned on day 1 after exit” does NOT make the negotiation of a trade deal easier.”
There is a distinct trend of senior civil servants tasked with delivering Brexit quitting. Karen Wheeler, who was in charge of the ‘frictionless border’ quit saying there were no magical solutions. Tom Shinner, who has in charge of no-deal planning left the civil service.
Alexandra Hall Hall, who was the lead envoy for Brexit in the British Embassy in Washington quit saying the government were not being "fully honest" over Brexit, and that it was undermining the credibility of the UK abroad.
We have been honest since the start of the Brexit process. We think it’s a terrible idea, and that we should stop it. Our position inside the European Union means that we can have far more influence on a global scale. Brexit has been a meltdown on an international stage, and frankly, it’s an embarrassment that we should end immediately.
What’s the difference between Rudolph’s nose and David Cameron’s autobiography?
Only one will be red at Christmas.
11. We Will Negotiate A Trade Deal In 11 Months
The EU has never negotiated, signed and ratified a trade deal with a country in 11 months.
Canada took seven years to strike its agreement with the EU. Given the scale of the problems that have to be negotiated, for example checks on the border, it’s highly unlikely this will happen.
Even the EU have distanced themselves from the idea it could be done in 11 months.
Former Australian Trade Negotiator and Trade expert Dmitry Grozoubinski agrees. He said; “no previous trade agreement has ever occurred on such a doomsday clock.”
If Johnson fails to negotiate a trade deal in that incredibly short time frame, there’s a very real risk we could crash out without a deal at the end of 2020.
The Liberal Democrats know that no trade deal we negotiate with the EU will be as good as the one we currently have. We won’t risk a no-deal, and we’ll act in the interest of the United Kingdom and stop Brexit.
Why should Boris Johnson get sacked as nativity manager?
He can’t run a stable government.
12. Get Brexit Done
The entire Conservative election campaign has been based on a lie.
The idea that Johnson will get Brexit done by Christmas is completely untrue. He’s taking the electorate for fools.
Even if Johnson wins a majority, and even if he passes the withdrawal agreement before Christmas, then Brexit won’t be done.
In fact, it’ll just mark the start of a long, painful negotiating process with the EU, then the US, then every other country that we’ll have to negotiate trade deals with.
In the words of Jo Swinson; “With Brexit, we’re in episode one of a ten season box set.”
Brexit will dominate the headlines, and our political argument for years to come.
As a country we’ll have to deal with the anxiety of facing yet another cliff edge at the end of 2020.
Not to mention dealing with all the economic and social problems that Brexit will continue to cause.
The country is tired of Brexit. That’s why the Tories have run their campaign on the ‘Get Brexit Done’ slogan. But, like this blog series has shown, they have repeatedly lied about Brexit. They simply can’t be trusted.
The only way to get Brexit done is to stop it. Then we can move on, tackle the real issues in our society, and move forward as a country.
That’s the Christmas present the Liberal Democrats would give to the United Kingdom. Let’s stop Brexit and start building a brighter future for Britain.
#VoteLibDem...— Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) December 12, 2019
🌍To tackle the climate emergency
👩🏫To give every child the best start in life
📈To build a fairer economy
🙋♀To transform our mental health services
🔶Find out where to vote Liberal Democrat here: https://t.co/Zhp93YP1h1 pic.twitter.com/WumIZuaKhz