Gove’s Dirty Dozen

by InFacts | 15.06.2016

Michael Gove has been making misleading claims since the referendum campaign began. From the slightly sneaky to the woefully wrong, here are 12 of his finest. Click the InFact for the lowdown on the dirtiest dozen.

Gove fiction: “We can take back the £350 million we give to the EU every week”

InFact. Britain’s real net contribution is £120 million a week. And if we left the EU, the economy would be damaged and tax revenues would fall. So we wouldn’t even save our net contribution – we’d have less money to spend, not more.

Gove fiction: We are “on the hook to pay more in 2020”

InFact. The 2014-2020 EU budget represents a real terms cut on the previous period, and House of Commons research shows we are due to pay less to the EU budget in 2020 than this year.

Gove fiction: “Britain hasn’t been able to shape the single market in our interests”

InFact. Gove cites “80 occasions when we have voted against” measures in the EU Council, losing each time. Since 1999, we have voted Yes 2,466 times and No just 56 times.

Gove fiction: Britain’s EU budget rebate is in danger

InFact. If the EU wanted to scrap, reduce or otherwise change our rebate there would need to be a unanimous Council vote. In other words, Britain could veto it.

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Gove fiction: Net migration from the EU could be 5 million between now and 2030 if we stay in the union

InFact. The claim is based on “research” by Vote Leave that is riddled with errors, most notably the discredited assumption that 82 million Turks will join the EU in 2020.

Gove fiction: Outside the EU, we “wouldn’t have all the regulations which cost our economy £600 million every week

InFact. Gove ignores half the picture. The 100 most burdensome regulations have a benefit of £1.1 billion a week, according to the same research that Gove used for his figure. That gives a net benefit of £487 million a week.

Gove fiction: As EU members we have to accept that “anyone, even someone with a criminal record, can breeze into Britain”

InFact. The UK can refuse entry on the grounds of public security, including to EU citizens who are serious or persistent criminals – and we have done so thousands of times.

Gove fiction: ECJ stops UK deporting terrorists

InFact. UK courts can deport those deemed a serious threat to public security.

Gove fiction: “The other countries will know that until a deal which suits us is reached we still retain a veto over their plans. So that gives us all the cards.”

InFact. Such a ploy would lead to a bloody battle, clobbering the economy and poisoning relations with the very partners we’ll be negotiating exit terms with.

Gove fiction: Britain voting to leave will be the beginning of…”the democratic liberation of a whole Continent.”

InFact. Extreme right, populist parties like Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Jobik, France’s National Front and the Swedish Democrats would probably be cheering – but their democratic credentials are ropey. Not a single mainstream political party in the rest of Europe would contemplate signing up for what Gove advocates.

Gove fiction: UK to pass emergency laws to “deal with” the European Court of Justice if we vote to quit the EU

InFact. Doing this when we were still in the EU would breach our treaty obligations at a time when we wanted an amicable divorce. This would poison what would anyway be difficult negotiations.

Gove fiction: “The European Court … will decide the issue of whether convicted felons can vote and if so how far this right should be extended”

InFact. The European Court of Human Rights has said that Britain’s blanket ban on prisoners voting in general elections is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.  But this Court is a separate, non-EU institution irrelevant to the referendum.

Edited by Geert Linnebank

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