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Raab seems to have same loose grip on facts as his boss

by Jonathan Spink | 02.08.2019

The new foreign secretary claims he spoke about the potential of a “no-deal” Brexit during the referendum. The snag is nobody can find any evidence that he did.

In an interview on BBC’s Today Programme, Raab responded to questioning about the mandate for “no-deal” by saying: “We made clear, those in the campaign, that we should strive for a good deal but if that wasn’t available that we should go on and make a success of Brexit.” 

He added: “”I was questioned on it by the BBC almost every time I appeared and so was Michael Gove…. There’s all sorts of interviews which said that of course we’d prefer a deal, but that there would be a risk.”

However, Raab consistently argued during the campaign that we would get a deal and it was not in the EU’s interests nor credible to suggest that we would not get a good deal. 

In an article written by Raab for the Telegraph in February 2016, he argued that the EU would not deny us market access, saying: “The Remain campaign assert the EU would cut off its nose to spite its face, vindictively defying its own interests by shutting Britain out of its markets altogether. That’s not remotely credible.”

He also said in April 2016 in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil: “We’re very well placed, and mutual self-interest suggests we’d cut a very good deal and it’s certainly not in the Europeans’ interest to erect trade barriers.”

Additionally, on an episode of BBC Daily Politics in April 2016, Raab said: “The idea that Britain would be apocalyptically off the cliff edge if we left the EU is silly.”

The BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian have scoured clips, interviews and articles from the time. None has found any evidence to support Raab’s claim. Invited to provide evidence for Raab’s comments, a Cabinet Office spokesperson told the Guardian: “This is not for the civil service to answer.”

There is also no support for his claim that other campaigners advocated no deal. Gove said in April 2016: “Outside the EU, we would still benefit from the free trade zone which stretches from Iceland to the Russian border.” 

Indeed, Gove, who is now the Cabinet minister in charge of “no deal” planning, wrote in the Daily Mail in March this year: “We didn’t vote to leave without a deal. That wasn’t the message of the campaign I helped lead.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson told the Treasury select committee in March 2016: “It doesn’t seem to me to be very hard … to do a free trade deal very rapidly indeed.” The new prime minister also said as late as July 2017: “There is no plan for no deal, because we are going to get a great deal.”

When Brexiters now claim the public knew they were voting for “no deal” during the referendum, they are falsifying the record. They have no mandate to crash out. Before doing something so crazy, they need to go back and ask the people whether they want it.

As for Raab, he seems unfortunately to have the same loose grip on facts as his boss.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

9 Responses to “Raab seems to have same loose grip on facts as his boss”

  • Between Blubbo assessing a ‘dodgy dam’ and ‘Remembering Raab’ we have quite a team of unified experts running our country. Fancy a hanging? You’ve come to the right place for death or sheer terror at the hands of our newly reminted home secretary. Successfully rehabilitated from her days of impersonating the entire government wheeling and dealing with Benji.

    Good news is that Blubbo does not possess ‘The Button’.
    Bad news is that Trump does.

  • I hope someone is keeping a list of the claims made by our “leaders”. “Exactly the same benefits as before” is quite good, courtesy of “thick as mince” Davis. As for Raab, as an ex-lawyer….and presumably not a very good one…you would expect him to manufacture false evidence to support his case. The trouble is, in the current environment, does any one actually care?

  • Perhaps he so busy learning his geography and the locations/importance of the Dover – Calais link, that he is suffering from amnesia.

  • It is not just Raab who is selling this line. The Brexit Party is also at it- witness statements from Alexandra Phillips. Gove appeared on Michael Portillo’s TV documentary saying this country is a representative democracy and, as such, there never should have been a referendum! Bunch of hypocrites and liars.

  • None of these people is actually an idiot, although they seem to behave as such. They are all prepared to sacrifice common sense and the commitment to the public’s welfare for which they were elected in favour of their own careers and, of course, bank balances. However, I’d except Truss and Patel from the above. They are, indeed, first class fools. (Given BJ’s track record with women, I’d have expected them to get better jobs in exchange for, err, support …..)

  • 2 more Raab classics:
    “Forgive me if I don’t keep a laser-like focus on the substance” whilst discussing Citizens Rights as the Brexit Minister in July 2018.

    and, “People who go to food banks have a cash flow problem”

    The bloke has a very unfortunate image for any minister, never mind Foreign Secretary. He just combines this smooth, over confident speaking style, whilst regularly putting his foot in it. For demonstrating the fundamental flaws at the heart of the Brexit campaign, you could scarcely dream up a better caricature for one of its champions than Raab.

  • It reminds me of the old joke of the patient in a mental home being assessed by the mental health specialist. After responding very eloquently to a question by the doctor, the patient notices the surprised look on the doctor’s face. He says, “well, I may be mad, but I’m not stupid.” Sums up the oxbridge/public school of psychotics our wonderful democratic system has manufactured. Not quite as bad as the democratically electors Hitler, Mussolini, and others well known but not to be mentioned.
    Disgruntled from Dorset.
    PS apart from another march, what’s the Remain plan……it’s all gone very quiet….mr Cummings, whoever he is, seems to have told Parliament that irs too late to stop No Deal! Nice to take back control and give it to nobodies like Aron Banks and Cummings.

  • Dominic Raab is just continuing the stream of blatant lies that brought his ilk to power. If “the People” do not want to disturb their precious sense of being winners with a dose of reality, it is very likely that they’ll accept this claptrap and not query it. Simple facts of life.

  • A comment posted on 04.07.16 to an article by Brian Shipman dated 26.05.16 on this website reveals that the Leave Alliance (aka “LeaveHQ”) not only thought No Deal would be an “unmitigated disaster” but also strongly advised the Leave campaign not to mention it because “the chances of the Leave side winning would quickly recede to nil” if they did. Perhaps this helps to explain why it is proving so hard to find references to No Deal back in 2016.