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...
We'll post the next festive fib tomorrow!