10 of the biggest lies told during the EU referendum campaign

Daniel Edwards
Sep 1 · 5 min read

Today Britain finds itself in a right old pickle because of Brexit. With British parliamentarians still unable to reach a consensus on what is the right path out of the Brexit maze, Britain now finds itself staring down the barrel of a no-deal Brexit.

The British government’s own report codenamed ‘yellowhammer’ recently revealed a no deal Brexit would leave the country facing food, medicine and fuel shortages. Moreover, research by the BoE has revealed that Brexit has already cut British productivity by up to 5%, which equates to £40–100 billion of lost income every year.

This is a far cry from what was promised by the leading figures on the Leave side of the argument during the referendum campaign. Here are 10 of the biggest lies leading Brexiteers told the British public during that historic referendum campaign:

10 Lord Digby Jones promised voters that “Not a single job would be lost because of Brexit.”

There have already been thousands of job losses due to Brexit since the referendum and that’s before we’ve even left. Research recently carried out by Leuven University revealed that there would be around 500,000 job loses in Britain under a no-deal Brexit.

9 Penny Mordaunt claimed that Britain would be forced to join an EU army unless it voted for Brexit: “If we stay in the EU the Lisbon treaty gives us the worst of all worlds: powerless the prevent EU army it paves the way for, and we, as only one of two full spectrum defence nations in the EU, would be bound to support.”

Britain has a veto on EU military policy so cannot be forced into joining an EU army.

8 Nigel Farage’s infamous ‘breaking point’ poster.

Set over an image of thousands of refugees in Slovenia who had just crossed the border with Croatia in 2015, the refugees in the ‘breaking point’ poster had nothing to do with Britain’s own borders.

7 Daniel Hannan: “Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the single market.”

Since the referendum pretty much every leading Brexiteer has demanded that Britain leave the single market so the country can strike its own trade deals.

6 Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed that Britain is constantly getting overruled by other EU member states: “The UK loses out because other members favour a highly regulated and protectionist economy.”

Britain has never been constantly overuled by its fellow EU members. Research by UK in a changing Europe revealed that Britain had only been in a minority on 57 legislative acts at the European Council since 1999 and has been in the majority on 2,474 acts, so has been on the winning side the overwhelming majority of the time.

5 Vote Leave: “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU”.

Turkey has not joined the EU since the referendum and there is zero chance of the country joining the bloc anytime soon. Since the referendum Angela Merkel has stated that Turkey will never become an EU member, effectively blocking any accession.

4 Chris Grayling said on Question Time that Brexit would not result in queues at Dover, Britain’s busiest port: “We will maintain a free flowing border at Dover. We will not impose checks in the port. The only reason we would have queues at the border is if we put in place restrictions that created those queues. We are not going to do that.”

However, under a no-deal Brexit lorry checks would have to carried out at Dover and even those taking as little as 80 seconds would result in an unrecoverable backlog of lorries, turning the M20 into a lorry park.

3 Liam Fox told BBC Radio 4’s Today that any trade deal that Britain did with the EU: “should be one of the easiest in human history.”

Yet, it’s now more than three years after the referendum result and there is still no trade deal on the horizon.

2 Theresa Villiers claimed that Brexit would not risk the return of a hard border in Ireland: “Nor is there any prospect of security checks returning to the border. The common travel area between the UK and Ireland pre-dates our EU membership and will outlast it. The unique status Irish citizens are accorded in the UK predates EU membership and will outlast it. There is no reason why the UK’s only land border should be any less open after Brexit than it is today.”

Senior civil servants have recently warned that the return of hard border in Ireland would be inevitable in a no-deal Brexit scenario. Moreover, Ireland has recently turned an old customs post on its border with the United Kingdom into a construction site, heightening fears that it may soon be used to carry out checks on goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

1 Boris Johnson claimed that Britain would be £350 million better off after leaving the EU: “Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350m per week.”

A grossly misleading figure that doesn’t account for the money Britain gets back from the EU or Britain’s rebate on top of that. Moreover, the effect on Britain’s public finances from depressed economic growth, which would be caused by leaving the single market would dwarf any saving made from ending Britain’s subscription to the EU’s annual budget.

Daniel Edwards

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Hi I’m Daniel, a history graduate. Welcome to my blog and I hope that you find my pieces interesting.

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