Brexiteers have been running a campaign of misinformation to scare voters into quitting EU. Here are the five of the worst myths busted.
Vote Leave has been running a campaign of misinformation to scare voters into quitting the EU. Despite being told that its facts are wrong, it has persisted peddling falsehoods on everything from migration to the NHS.
InFacts has busted more than 60 of the Leave camp’s myths. Here are five of the most misleading.
Turkey will join EU in 2020
Michael Gove says Turkey is about to join Europe. What he doesn’t say is that it would first need to prove it is a modern European democracy. That means ticking 35 boxes on everything from human rights to the economy. Even then, we or any of the other 27 members could just say no.
We always get outvoted in Brussels
Boris Johnson says we always get bossed around by Brussels because we keep getting outvoted. Since 1999, we’ve been on the losing side 56 times in the EU’s Council. What Boris doesn’t say is how many times we’ve been on the winning side 2,466 times. 2,466 to 56 is a good score in any sport.
EU needs us more than we need it
Boris Johnson says we’ll get a good trade deal with the European Union because Germany wants to sell us BMWs. What he doesn’t say is that our exports to the EU are 13% of our economy, while their exports to us are only 3% of their economy. So, we’d be the big losers from a trade war. We need them more than they need us.
Boris also doesn’t say that many foreign firms, like Nissan, set up shop in Britain because we are a gateway to sell stuff to the whole EU. If we quit, Germany and France might try to grab our jobs by luring companies away from the UK.
We send £350m a week to Brussels.
Boris Johnson says we send £350 million a week to Brussels. But it isn’t true. Margaret Thatcher, famously brandishing her handbag, secured a discount on our payment to the European Union. Funny that Boris, a fans of Maggie’s, has forgotten that.
When you take account of Maggie’s discount and money that comes back to Britain from the EU, our membership costs 30 pence per person per day. That’s half the price of a Mars bar. And we get more than 30 pence a day back in benefits.
Leaving EU would save the NHS
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove say quitting Europe would save the NHS because we’d get fewer migrants and stop sending money to Brussels. What they don’t say is that, if we left, we’d lose full access to Europe’s market. That’s responsible for half our trade. We’d suffer such an economic shock that we’d have less money to spend, not more.
Boris and Gove also don’t tell you that EU migrants support the NHS. They pay more in taxes than they use public services – partly because they are younger than Brits. What’s more, one in 10 doctors is an EU migrant.
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Hugo Dixon is the author of The In/Out Question: Why Britain should stay in the EU and fight to make it better. Available here for £5 (paperback), £2.50 (e-book)
Edited by Jack Schickler