Brexit is a divisive topic and both sides bent the truth, to say the least. Ahead of Article 50 being triggered by Parliament, we've busted ten myths you might have heard during the referendum campaigns so you know what to expect when we do leave the EU. So without further ado...
5 Remain Myths, Busted
When Britain leaves the EU, the cost of imports (from the EU) will increase by £11 billion:
This myth was and has been widely propelled by pro-EU campaigners, both before and after the Brexit vote. However, key figures on both sides have refuted this claim. Lord Rose, who headed the pro-EU campaign stated that exit would not result in an end to free trade, and Lord Kerr of Kinlochard (Britain’s former ambassador to Brussels) firmly stated that “There is no doubt that the UK could secure a free trade agreement with the EU.”
Leaving the EU would cause 3 million job losses:
Whilst it is true that Britain will lose 3 million jobs in the year after Brexit, this is because Britain loses 3 million jobs every year. However, the belief that this will be affected by Britain’s departure from the European Union, is a misconception. Many base this belief on fears over free trade, however, as addressed in number 1, this is not a concern that will be realised.
Britain’s rejection of the EU was based on isolationism:
Although many believe that Britain will become more isolationist in the wake of Brexit, and indeed many believe that isolationism contributed largely to Brexit’s success. However, Britain will remain a nation more involved in the international community than many other developed nations. The UK remains totally committed to NATO and is already actively seeking to become more involved in the wider Commonwealth, Europe, and indeed, the world.
Brexit is bad for business:
Many business leaders have feared that Brexit will cause their business some (or a lot) of distress. However, many of these concerns are not entirely justified, especially for some industries. For example, the weaker pound makes Britain an even more attractive destination for international holiday goers, benefiting hospitality, and travel-based businesses; such as hotels, restaurants, airlines etc. Conversely, however, the prospect, and eventuality, of a weaker pound caused concern for finance leaders. However, they soon found that what many had forecast (a major recession, and economic doomsday) did not occur, and instead there was a stock market gain after the initial shock of Brexit.
Britain will be “at the back of the queue” for trade deals:
Despite the derogatory comments made by the former leader of the United States, Barack Obama, Britain has not found itself at the back of the queue with regard to trade deals, in fact, many nations; such as, Australia, Canada, and America have made their intention to strike a favourable trade deal with the UK very clear. Many other nations are also likely to join the flurry of interest in bilateral trade arrangements, as a Britain free of the EU, is not hindered by the same level of red tape, and the extensive bureaucracy present in the European Union.
5 Leave Myths, Busted
EU membership costs the UK over £350 million every week, nearly £20 billion a year:
This is one of the most well-known Leave campaign claims, in fact, it was so prominent that it was even painted across the side of the Leave campaign bus. However, it is not correct. Britain does receive some, although infinitesimal when compared to membership dues, rebates. These rebates reduce the total net cost of EU membership to Britain. The true cost in £250 million a week, roughly £13 billion pounds a year.
Britain is consistently outvoted in the EU:
Whilst it is certainly true that the UK has been outvoted many times on the EU stage (57 times), Britain has been in the majority for 2,474 acts, and abstained on 70 occasions.
Britain was at risk of losing its veto in EU treaties:
Before an EU treaty comes into force, it must be agreed to by ALL member states. Therefore, Britain was never at risk of losing its veto.
Leaving EU would save the NHS:
This one is slightly more open to interpretation, however, I will try to clarify it as best I can. Without doubt, it is true that leaving the EU could save our NHS, however, that is not a guarantee. It comes down to how the EU savings are spent, and what government policy states. If the government legislates the privatisation of the NHS; Brexit will not stop that, and if the government chooses to spend saving elsewhere, Brexit will not stop that either. However, if a portion of the money saved from leaving the EU is spent wisely, on and around, the NHS, then it could certainly be the difference between a public NHS and private NHS.
Britain will have to contribute to bailouts within the EU:
The notion that Britain would have to contribute to bailouts within the EU is not correct. Within the deal struck by David Cameron in February 2016, Britain’s special status as a non-Eurozone country guarantees that the UK will not have to contribute to any EU bailouts.