Cynical Boris ‘whoppers’ distorting referendum – Clegg

Nick Clegg has defended the cost of the EU.
Nick Clegg has defended the cost of the EU.
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NICK CLEGG has accused Boris Johnson of telling ‘whoppers’ about the European Union’s costs – and says that the UK’s membership costs each person as little as 30p a day.

Writing in The Yorkshire Post, the former Deputy Prime Minister says Brexiteers like the ex-Mayor of London need “to stop trying to fib their way to victory” on June 23.

Nick Clegg: Don’t let Boris ‘whoppers’ cloud EU choice

The Sheffield Hallam MP, who stood down as Lib Dem leader after last year’s election, rebuts the assertion that the cost of EU membership now stands at £55m a day.

“It is an effective line, but also a classic Boris whopper,” he writes. “It takes no account of the money we receive back from the European Union, for example from the rebate that their heroine Margaret Thatcher negotiated many years ago.

“In 2015, the net cost was in fact £17m a day, or around 30p per person. That’s still a lot of money, but in return we get full access to the world’s most lucrative single market which the CBI reckons is worth £3,000 to every British household. So we all get back much more than what we pay in.”

In a hard-hitting article, Mr Clegg says the “most pernicious” Brexit claim is the assertion that Britain can “reclaim out borders” by voting to leave the EU.

“What cynical nonsense. We are not part of the borderless Schengen area and desperate people just want sanctuary: they won’t stop trying to come just because we are out of the EU,” he concludes.

“What’s more, if we want to trade with Europe in future as we do now, free movement will undoubtedly be part of the deal. That’s what Norway and Switzerland, which Brexiteers love to cite as models, have found.”

His comments come after Mr Johnson joined cricket legend Sir Ian Botham at a Vote Leave event in Durham. Sir Ian, who lives in North Yorkshire, said Britain would give the EU “a very wide berth” if the country was voting to join the organisation afresh.