Gina Miller has announced a new website to tell us all the facts about Brexit and leaving the EU without a deal. She launched this at a meeting of 50 – yes, count them, 50 – of her supporters. There is however a slight problem with the facts on her factchecking site. They’re not right those facts.
To the sound of March of the Saxons by the Warrington indie band Baltic Fleet, Miller launched her campaign in front of about 50 supporters in Dover, where 62.2% of voters opted to leave the EU.
Such a groundswell of popular support she’s riding, eh?
Miller called on politicians to listen to the views of people “beyond zone two” of the London transport system.
Hmm, London voted Remain quite heavily as I recall. It being outside London that – like Dover – voted Leave. Meaning that leave is the listening to those outside London idea really, doesn’t it?
But our first check on anyone talking about the facts of Brexit has to be on trade and the WTO. That being where people lie so often. At which point we get:
“No Deal” would mean the UK relying on basic World Trade
Organisation (WTO) rules, which would involve for example:
v A hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
v Tariffs being charged on goods leaving and entering the UK.
This would lead to increased prices
WTO rules don’t require a hard border with anywhere. Most certainly not from the UK side either. The WTO being rather in favour of free trade that would be a rather silly thing for them to insist upon.
And WTO rules also do not mean that tariffs must be imposed upon imports into Britain. It’s actually EU law that tariffs must be applied to certain goods arriving in the EU from outside the EU. That’s law too, not just a suggestion. WTO rules say that if we do decide to impose import tariffs then there are certain limits to what can be charged. That is, WTO rates are maximums which cannot be exceeded. And those maximums are, often enough, lower than what the EU insists we charge right now. And we can, of course, decide to charge nothing:
To insist, meanwhile, that we must raise tariffs on the imports we desire is to misunderstand the WTO system. As a source in Geneva explains, Britain is a WTO member in its own right and will still be so even after Brexit happens. This means that we have promised not to charge higher than the allowable ceilings in tariffs upon imports from other WTO members. The Most Favoured Nation clause also states that whatever we do decide to charge ourselves, we must apply the same rate to the same products from all different WTO countries.
But not charging higher than the allowable ceilings does not commit us to charging anything at all. We can apply a 0 per cent rate (yes, I checked) if we so wish.
That is, being outside the EU means we do not have to charge the EU external tariff rates upon anything and can insist that we pay ourselves nothing on all sources of food from everywhere. Economists are reasonably certain this is going to lead to lower food prices in Britain.
So, factchecking site about Brexit wrong on facts about Brexit. Well done there Gina, well done.