We are being deceived – UK already has the powers to control EU migration

UK doesn’t use these powers because the extra jobs (2.2m), extra tax (2014= £14.71b less benefits £2.56b) and £50b a year spending keeps our economy going.


 One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens is the free movement of workers. This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another Member State and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State.

There are 4 major arguments in favour of stopping EU migrants exercising this freedom to come and work in the UK. Each of these arguments is untrue.

Claim 1 – “Inability for the UK to control migration into the UK”

The rules and safeguards for the Freedom of Movement can be found here


A summary of these rules are:

Freedom for a citizen of another EU member state to move to the UK applies to

  • Economically active EU-citizens (i.e. working)
    • Plus their families if EU-citizens
  • Non-economically active EU-citizens for up to 3-months
  • Non-economically active (not working) EU-citizens longer than 3-months provided:
    • They can show they have sufficient finance
    • They take out a comprehensive sickness insurance policy
  • FoM does not apply to
    • Non-economically active EU-citizens without funds
    • Non-economically active EU-citizens without sickness insurance
    • EU-citizens who have no realistic chance of working
    • Family members of an EU citizen who is not an EU Citizen may reside in the UK but does not have an automatic right to work
  • Benefits
    • EU-citizens working in the UK acquire rights to benefits after working for a period
    • EU-citizens not working do not have rights to Benefits
  • The UK has the right to restrict FoM through:
    • Suspension of the FoM for up to 7 years from when a new member country joins by
      • Preventing/prohibiting movement or
      • UK can insist upon work permits for each migrant
      • Benefit/Welfare “tourism” is illegal

No-one has been prosecuted to-date as UK is not tracking the issue

UK has, on many occasions, chosen not to enforce these restrictions


There is a view that our politicians have either misunderstood these provisions or deliberately ignored them – read this blog from 2013 by Professor Brad Blitz for his view.

UK chose not to control the 2004 inflow of migrants

Certainly it is true that one of the sharpest rises in net migration came in 2004, when the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined. However it is also fact that the UK was one of only 3 of the original EU members to choose not to apply transitional restrictions on these eight countries   and as such the UK invited this surge.  They could have avoided it if they wished.  Restrictions can apply for up to 7 years after a new member joins the EU and there are provisions to restrict movement if there should be any localised “surges”.

UK does not know or track how many migrants are in the country

It is important to realise that the UK does not know how many EU migrants are in the country, as migrants are not checked or tracked. The numbers provided by Government are estimates only.  The total migrant population is measured through the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Annual Population Survey (APS), which aggregates and supplements LFS data to improve statistical accuracy. The annual movement of migrants is measured primarily through the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which surveys passengers at UK ports, with additional data on migration to and from Northern Ireland and Home Office data on asylum seekers.

The UK could have managed the inflow of EU migrants and chose not to.

Claim 2 – “Need to restrict and /or eliminate so called “Benefit Fraud” and “Welfare Tourism””

An ongoing claim of the anti-EU lobby has been that EU migrants are coming to the UK merely to access public services and the host state’s benefits system.  Indeed the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, when Home Secretary, claimed that these citizens are “benefit tourists.” However, whilst this has not stopped Ms May making this claim, the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK and so there is no evidence to back these claims.

Actually, when checked then rather than being a “unacceptable burden” our EU migrants are contributing significantly to the economy, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

A FactCheck study on these claims showed that EU migrants rather than being a drain on the UK bank balance actually contribute significantly, far more than their UK-native counterparts.

According to the European Commission, between 2004 and 2009 free movement from newer member countries increased the GDP of the old EU member countries by almost one percent.

A further study showed that where UK-natives (during 2001-2011) claimed more than they paid in Tax the reverse was the case for EU Migrants who contributed significantly.


So there is no Benefit Tourism that the UK can point to however, even if there were migrants abusing the system as claimed then the FoM directive is clear. The directive enables Member States to adopt the necessary measures to refuse, terminate or withdraw any right conferred in the event of abuse of rights or fraud, such as marriages of convenience.  Article 35 of the directive expressly grants Member States the power, in the event of abuse or fraud, to withdraw any right conferred by the directive.  The Migrant could be removed from the UK as well as prosecuted for Fraud.

The problem would seem to be more one of lack of control by the UK Government rather than “Benefit Tourism” by migrants.

Claim 3 – “Migrants reduce wages and take jobs of the UK-natives”

Another false claim I’m afraid.

This paper from the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at UCL found that immigration depressed wages slightly for the very low paid between 1997 and 2005. But the overall effect over the whole wage distribution was slightly positive.

Another report looked specifically at the period when the UK experienced a surge of EU migration 2004-2006 and found “Despite anecdotal evidence, we found little hard evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.”


Research commissioned by the Migration Advisory Committee found that “inflows of working-age EU migrants did not have a statistically significant association with native employment” between 1995 and 2010.

Finally a study Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UK concluded:

  • There is also little effect of EU immigration on inequality through reducing the pay and jobs of less skilled UK workers. Changes in wages and joblessness for less educated UKborn workers show little correlation with changes in EU immigration.
  • EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they take out in welfare and the use of public services. They therefore help reduce the budget deficit. Immigrants do not have a negative effect on local services such as crime, education, health, or social housing

Claim 4 – “Unfair pressures on the NHS and public services caused by this uncontrolled mass migration”

This would, on the face of it, provide the most pressing argument in the case against FoM.  Surely uncontrolled migration into an area could and has swamped local services and increased pressure on Public Services such as increased NHS waiting times.

Well, the first thing to consider is that the UK has singularly failed to apply the controls available to manage the movement of migrants, opting not to impose transitional restrictions in 2004 and failing to even track where EU migrants are. The truth is the Government do not know if this is an issue or not.

However, once again, facts disprove these allegations and a study of nationwide immigration data shows that immigration actually reduced waiting times for outpatient referrals. On average, a 10 percentage point increase in the share of migrants living in a local authority would reduce waiting times by 9 days.

A Channel4 FactCheck on the topic concludes:

“The Office for Budget Responsibility accepts the basic point that immigrants tend to improve the country’s finances. A major cut in immigration would mean tax hikes or more spending cuts, the watchdog has said.

This is because migrants tend to be younger and healthier, so they are more likely to be in work and paying taxes and less likely to be retired or to need healthcare.

HMRC recently said that recently arrived EEA nationals paid £3.1bn in income tax and national insurance in 2013/2014. They took out £0.56bn in HMRC benefits.


In 2014 all EU migrants paid £14.71B in taxes and claimed £2.56b in Tax Credits and Child Benefits meaning that they contributed a net £12.15B to the UK purse.

Of course, this kind of macroeconomic analysis cannot capture the experiences of people living in areas that have seen very high levels of EU immigration, so we can’t rule out incidents of pressure on local services.


I think it is pretty clear that there has been a concerted effort to show the FoM in a bad light and our current Conservative Government and Theresa May in particular must shoulder some of the blame for this.

The FoM has increased GDP (by an estimated 1%), has increased tax revenues (by a net £2b over benefits claimed), provided the largest source of labour for an otherwise impoverished NHS and also provided the freedom for 1.4m UK citizens to work or retire all over Europe.

The problems are in the main perceived rather than real and are exacerbated by the sheer incompetence of successive governments and the Home Office (again including the 6 years that Theresa May has been in charge). A failure to implement the available controls, manage or indeed even track the migration of labour into the UK. A shameful state of affairs that has contributed in no small part to the current Brexit debacle.


Looking for a Soft Landing?

Along with at least 16m other Britons (and that number will be growing by the day) I have no confidence that our current Government will be able to navigate through the Brexit nightmare without considerable help.

Please read and share if you agree with the blogs.

Contact me through @britainstays or via comments on this site if you would like to contribute.

Britain Stays!

£44b per year – that’s how much extra tax is needed if May “negotiates” her perfect exit deal.

The evidence is stacking up and no-one is even asking the Conservatives how they will pay for the additional costs of Brexit.

Lets assume that the UK get everything they ask for and the EU agree to:

  • no divorce bill – UK do owe something and it could be as high as €100b but lets assume they let us off this
  • A massive “comprehensive” Free Trade Agreement, just like May has promised
  • UK gets to opt out of Freedom of Movement
  • UK gets to opt out of oversight by the European Court of Justice
  • UK gets to opt out of paying ANY EU budget payments

Sounds good?  It is pretty unrealistic but these are the kind of expectations that Theresa May is setting.

So what happens to our economy should May negotiate such a deal?

On the plus side the UK will get their Budget Contributions back.  This has been £15b each recently once the rebate is taken off.  However the UK also receives around £12b back in funding  which means  net the “gain” for the UK will only be £3b.

Once out of the EU the UK need to make up the shortfall in funding for some key areas or see them go to the wall.  The two obvious candidates are Farming and Scientific Research.  To stand still the UK will need to provide £3.8b to UK Farming and £3.3b to UK research programmes, £7.1b in total.

If the gain from the Budget contributions is netted off the cost of leaving the Single Market starts at £4.1b.

But we don’t have anyone to negotiate our trade deals.  A conservative estimate of running the New Trade Dept. is £5b. per year bringing the #Brexitcost to £9.1b per year.

In the Autumn Statement 2016 Philip Hammond presented the OBR report which estimated a further £59b costs over the next 5 years related to Brexit including £16b in lost taxes from lower migration and £18.2b in loss taxes through lower productivity related to brexit.  By 2020 these costs are expected to have increased to £15.2b per year. The #Brexitcost goes up to £24.3b.

But the economy is going to boom in the new world, free from the shackles of the EU, right?

Wrong. Dr Monique Ebell has analysed the recent NIER (National Institute Economic Review, 1/2/2017 and calculates a  22% drop in total UK trade from an FTA with the EU when UK is out of the Single Market. The new trade from the rest of the world can be calculated based upon other examples of similar arrangements and can be expected to bring in an increase in trade of 4.8%. So the long-term prospects for the UK is an overall loss of trade of more than 17%.

The reduced tax income from this will be enormous.  If we ignore the loss of income tax from the obvious job losses and merely make a basic calculation of 17% of our total VAT income of £120b this would result in a £20b loss of taxes.

The #Brexitcost is up to £44.3b per year ignoring costs of job losses, no divorce bill and no EU Budget contributions.

Why is no one asking how this will be paid for?  To balance the books the Tories will have to massively raise taxes and, at the moment, they are not being challenged on this.



[1] https://www.ft.com/content/e94c96a2-d3e3-11e6-b06b-680c49b4b4c0

[2] https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/clean-brexit/

[3] http://www.niesr.ac.uk/blog/will-new-trade-deals-soften-blow-hard-brexit

[4] https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/comms/r116.pdf

[5] https://medium.com/@SamuelMarcLowe/how-to-save-the-uk-car-industry-from-brexit-kinda-c99c02291026#.ibkpj8ph6

[6] https://medium.com/@SamuelMarcLowe/explaining-cumulative-rules-of-origin-2c13fb4dfca1#.xwx5timly

[7] https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/ersd201212_e.pdf


[9] http://www.nber.org/papers/w19285.pdf

[10] http://www.nber.org/papers/w19285.pdf

[11] http://www.cepii.fr/pdf_pub/wp/2013/wp2013-27.pdf

[12] https://www.ft.com/content/e456c008-8642-11e6-8897-2359a58ac7a5



[15] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ttip-an-overview-of-the-eu-us-free-trade-deal

[16] http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2016/may/tradoc_154522.pdf

[17] https://medium.com/@SamuelMarcLowe/can-global-britain-defy-gravity-18df4e9f4f7f


[19] http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2010/june/tradoc_146221.pdf

[20] http://ec.europa.eu/smart-regulation/roadmaps/docs/2015_trade_040_aus_nz_trade_agreement_en.pdf

[21] http://www.andrewlilico.com/2017/01/09/my-presentation-to-the-aea-annual-conference-on-brexit-six-months-on/

[22] https://cebr.com/reports/the-economic-impact-on-services-from-the-uk-losing-single-market-access/





MAY Theresa menacing

Thank you.  Today I want to talk about the United Kingdom, our place in the world and our membership of the European Union.

But before I start, I want to make clear that – as you can see – this is not a rally.  It will not be an attack or even a criticism of people who take a different view to me.  It will simply be my analysis of the rights and wrongs, the opportunities and risks, of our membership of the EU.

Sovereignty and membership of multilateral institutions

In essence, the question the country has to answer on 23rd June – whether to Leave or Remain – is about how we maximise Britain’s security, prosperity and influence in the world, and how we maximise our sovereignty: that is, the control we have over our own affairs in future.

I use the word “maximise” advisedly, because no country or empire in world history has ever been totally sovereign, completely in control of its destiny.  Even at the height of their power, the Roman Empire, Imperial China, the Ottomans, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, modern-day America, were never able to have everything their own way.  At different points, military rivals, economic crises, diplomatic manoeuvring, competing philosophies and emerging technologies all played their part in inflicting defeats and hardships, and necessitated compromises even for states as powerful as these.

Today, those factors continue to have their effect on the sovereignty of nations large and small, rich and poor.  But there is now an additional complication.  International, multilateral institutions exist to try to systematise negotiations between nations, promote trade, ensure cooperation on matters like cross-border crime, and create rules and norms that reduce the risk of conflict.

These institutions invite nation states to make a trade-off: to pool and therefore cede some sovereignty in a controlled way, to prevent a greater loss of sovereignty in an uncontrolled way, through for example military conflict or economic decline.

Article 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty is a good example of how this principle works: NATO member countries, Britain included, have agreed to be bound by the principle of collective defence.  An attack on any single member will, according to the Treaty, be interpreted as an attack on all members, and collective defence measures – including full military action – can be triggered.  Britain could find itself bound to go to war because of a dispute involving a different country – a clear and dramatic loss of control of our foreign policy – but on the other hand, NATO membership means we are far more secure from attack by hostile states – which increases our control of our destiny.  This is an institutionalised trade-off that the vast majority of the public – and most political leaders, apart from Jeremy Corbyn – think is worthwhile.

Looking back at history – and not very distant history at that – we know what a world without international, multilateral institutions looks like.  Any student of the way in which Europe stumbled its way to war in 1914 knows that the confused lines of communications between states, the ambiguity of nations’ commitments to one another, and the absence of any system to de-escalate tension and conflict were key factors in the origins of the First World War.  The United Nations may be a flawed organisation that has failed to prevent conflict on many occasions, but nobody should want an end to a rules-based international system and – so long as they have the right remits – institutions that try to promote peace and trade.

How we reconcile these institutions and their rules with democratic government – and the need for politicians to be accountable to the public – remains one of the great challenges of this century.  And the organisations of which the United Kingdom should become – and remain – a member will be a matter of constant judgement for our leaders and the public for many years to come.

Principles for Britain’s membership of international institutions

We need, therefore, to establish clear principles for Britain’s membership of these institutions.  Does it make us more influential beyond our own shores?  Does it make us more secure?  Does it make us more prosperous?  Can we control or influence the direction of the organisation in question?  To what extent does membership bind the hands of Parliament?

If membership of an international institution can pass these tests, then I believe it will be in our national interest to join or remain a member of it.  And on this basis, the case for Britain remaining a member of organisations such as NATO, the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, for example, is clear. 

But as I have said before, the case for remaining a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights – which means Britain is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights – is not clear.  Because, despite what people sometimes think, it wasn’t the European Union that delayed for years the extradition of Abu Hamza, almost stopped the deportation of Abu Qatada, and tried to tell Parliament that – however we voted – we could not deprive prisoners of the vote.  It was the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ECHR can bind the hands of Parliament, adds nothing to our prosperity, makes us less secure by preventing the deportation of dangerous foreign nationals – and does nothing to change the attitudes of governments like Russia’s when it comes to human rights.  So regardless of the EU referendum, my view is this.  If we want to reform human rights laws in this country, it isn’t the EU we should leave but the ECHR and the jurisdiction of its Court.

I can already hear certain people saying this means I’m against human rights.  But human rights were not invented in 1950, when the Convention was drafted, or in 1998, when it was incorporated into our law through the Human Rights Act.  This is Great Britain – the country of Magna Carta, Parliamentary democracy and the fairest courts in the world – and we can protect human rights ourselves in a way that doesn’t jeopardise national security or bind the hands of Parliament.  A true British Bill of Rights – decided by Parliament and amended by Parliament – would protect not only the rights set out in the Convention but could include traditional British rights not protected by the ECHR, such as the right to trial by jury.

I also know that others will say there is little point in leaving the ECHR if we remain members of the EU, with its Charter of Fundamental Rights and its Court of Justice.  And I am no fan of the Charter or of many of the rulings made by the Court.  But there are several problems that do apply to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, yet do not apply to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.  Strasbourg is in effect a final appeals court; Luxembourg has no such role.  Strasbourg can issue orders preventing the deportation of foreign nationals; Luxembourg has no such power.  Unlike the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Treaties are clear: “national security,” they say, “remains the sole responsibility of each Member State.” 

And unlike the ECHR, which is a relatively narrow human rights convention, our membership of the EU involves cooperation – and, yes, rules and obligations – on a much wider range of issues.  The country’s decision in the referendum is therefore a much more complex undertaking.  So I want to spend some time to go through the most important issues we need to consider.

Arguments that do not count

But before I do that, I want to deal with several arguments that should not count.  The first is that, in the twenty-first century, Britain is too small a country to cope outside the European Union.  That is nonsense.  We are the fifth biggest economy in the world, we are growing faster than any economy in the G7, and we attract nearly a fifth of all foreign investment in the EU.  We have a military capable of projecting its power around the world, intelligence services that are second to none, and friendships and alliances that go far beyond Europe.  We have the greatest soft power in the world, we sit in exactly the right time zone for global trade, and our language is theworld’s language.  Of course Britain could cope outside the European Union.  But the question is not whether we could survive without the EU, but whether we are better off, in or out.

Neither is it true that the EU is the only reason the continent has been largely peaceful since the end of the Second World War.  Nor is it about “the kind of country we want to be”, as the cliche is usually put.  Nor is the decision we face anything to do with our shared cultural heritage with Europe.  Of course we are a European country, but that in itself is not a reason to be an EU member state.

And nor is this debate about the past.  Really, I cannot emphasise this enough.  We are not in 1940, when Europe’s liberty was in peril and Britain stood alone.  We are not in 1957, when the Treaty of Rome was agreed, Europe was a Group of Six and the Cold War was a generation away from its conclusion.  We are not in 1973, when Britain was the “sick man of Europe” and saw the European Economic Community as its way out of trouble.  We are not even in 1992, when Maastricht was signed and the reunification of Germany had only just taken place. 

We are in 2016, and when we make this important decision, we need to look ahead to the challenges we will face – and the rest of Europe will face – over the next ten, twenty, thirty years and more.  Those challenges – about security, trade and the economy – are serious, complex and deserve a mature debate.  We need our decision to be the result of a hard-headed analysis of what is in our national interest.  There are certainly problems that are caused by EU membership, but of course there are advantages too.  Our decision must come down to whether, after serious thought about the pros and the cons, we believe there is more in the credit column than in the debit column for remaining on the inside. 


So I want to talk now about those three big, future challenges – security, trade and the economy.

A lot has been said already during this referendum campaign about security.  But I want to set out the arguments as I see them.  If we were not members of the European Union, of course we would still have our relationship with America.  We would still be part of the Five Eyes, the closest international intelligence-sharing arrangement in the world.  We would still have our first-rate security and intelligence agencies.  We would still share intelligence about terrorism and crime with our European allies, and they would do the same with us.

But that does not mean we would be as safe as if we remain.  Outside the EU, for example, we would have no access to the European Arrest Warrant, which has allowed us to extradite more than 5,000 people from Britain to Europe in the last five years, and bring 675 suspected or convicted wanted individuals to Britain to face justice.  It has been used to get terror suspects out of the country and bring terrorists back here to face justice.  In 2005, Hussain Osman – who tried to blow up the London Underground on 21/7 – was extradited from Italy using the Arrest Warrant in just 56 days.  Before the Arrest Warrant existed, it took ten long years to extradite Rachid Ramda, another terrorist, from Britain to France.

There are other advantages too.  Take the Passenger Name Records Directive.  This will give law enforcement agencies access to information about the movements of terrorists, organised criminals and victims of trafficking on flights between European countries and from all other countries to the EU.  When I first became Home Secretary, I was told there wasn’t a chance of Britain ever getting this deal.  But I won agreement in the Council of Ministers in 2012 and – thanks to Timothy Kirkhope MEP and the hard work of my Home Office team – the final Directive has now been agreed by the European Parliament and Council. 

Most importantly, this agreement will make us all safer.  But it also shows two advantages of remaining inside the EU.  First, without the kind of institutional framework offered by the European Union, a complex agreement like this could not have been struck across the whole continent, because bilateral deals between every single member state would have been impossible to reach.  And second, without British leadership and influence, a Directive would never have been on the table, let alone agreed.

These measures – the Arrest Warrant and PNR – are worthwhile because they are not about grandiose state-building and integration but because they enable practical cooperation and information sharing.  Britain will never take part in a European police force, we will never sign up to a European Public Prosecutor, and two years ago we took Britain out of around a hundred unhelpful EU justice and home affairs measures.  But when we took that decision, we also made sure that Britain remained signed up to the measures that make a positive difference in fighting crime and preventing terrorism. 

The European Criminal Records Information System, Financial Intelligence Units, the Prisoner Transfer Framework, SIS II, Joint Investigation Teams, Prüm.  These are all agreements that enable law enforcement agencies to cooperate and share information with one another in the fight against cross-border crime and terrorism.  They help us to turn foreign criminals away at the border, prevent money laundering by terrorists and criminals, get foreign criminals out of our prisons and back to their home countries, investigate cases that cross borders, and share forensic data like DNA and fingerprinting much more quickly. 

In the last year, we have been able to check the criminal records of foreign nationals more than 100,000 times.  Checks such as these mean we have been able to deport more than 3,000 European nationals who posed a threat to the public.  The police will soon be able to check DNA records for EU nationals in just fifteen minutes.  Under the old system it took 143 days.  Last year, the French used information exchanged through the Prüm agreement to locate one of the suspected perpetrators of the November attacks in Paris. 

These are practical measures that promote effective cooperation between different European law enforcement organisations, and if we were not part of them Britain would be less safe.

Now I know some people say the EU does not make us more secure because it does not allow us to control our border.  But that is not true.  Free movement rules mean it is harder to control the volume of Europeanimmigration – and as I said yesterday that is clearly no good thing – but they do not mean we cannot control the border.  The fact that we are not part of Schengen – the group of countries without border checks – means we have avoided the worst of the migration crisis that has hit continental Europe over the last year.  It means we can conduct checks on people travelling to Britain from elsewhere in Europe.  And, subject to certain rules and the availability of information, it means we can block entry for serious criminals and terrorists.

I have heard some people say – especially after the terrorist attacks in Brussels last month – that the very existence of extremists and terrorists in Belgium, France and other EU member states is reason enough to leave.  But our response to Paris and Brussels cannot be to say that we should have less cooperation with countries that are not only our allies but our nearest neighbours.  And anyway leaving the EU would not mean we could just close ourselves off to the world: the 9/11 attacks on New York were planned in Afghanistan.  The 7/7 attackers trained in Pakistan.  And most of the international terrorism casework that crosses my desk involves countries beyond Europe’s borders.

So my judgement, as Home Secretary, is that remaining a member of the European Union means we will be more secure from crime and terrorism. 

But now I want to turn to the other challenges we face in the coming decades: trade and the economy.

Trade and the economy

The headline facts of Britain’s trade with Europe are clear.  The EU is a single market of more than 500 million people, representing an economy of almost £11 trillion and a quarter of the world’s GDP.  44 per cent of our goods and services exports go to the EU, compared to five per cent to India and China.  We have a trade surplus in services with the rest of the EU of £17 billion.  And the trading relationship is more inter-related than even these figures suggest.  Our exporters rely on inputs from EU companies more than firms from anywhere else: nine per cent of the ‘value added’ of UK exports comes from inputs from within the EU, compared to 2.7 per cent from the United States and 1.3 per cent from China.

So the single market accounts for a huge volume of our trade, but if it is completed – so there are genuinely open markets for all services, the digital economy, energy and finance – we would see a dramatic increase in economic growth, for Britain and the rest of Europe.  The Capital Markets Union – initiated and led by Britain – will allow finance to flow freely between member states: the first proposal alone could lead to £110 billion in extra lending to businesses.  A completed energy single market could save up to £50 billion per year across the EU by 2030.  And a digital single market is estimated to be worth up to £330 billion a year to the European economy overall.  As Britain is the leading country in Europe when it comes to the digital economy, that is an enormous opportunity for us all. 

These changes will mean greater economic growth in Britain, higher wages in Britain and lower prices for consumers – in Britain.  But they will not happen spontaneously and they require British leadership.  And that is a crucial point in this referendum: if we leave the EU it is not just that we might not have access to these parts of the single market – these parts of the single market might never be created at all. 

The economic case for remaining inside the European Union isn’t therefore just about risk, but about opportunity.  And it isn’t just about fear, but about optimism – optimism that Britain can take a lead and deliver more trade and economic growth inside Europe and beyond.

There are risks we need to weigh, of course.  And there are risks in staying as well as leaving.  There is a big question mark, for example, about whether Britain, as a member state that has not adopted the euro, risks being discriminated against as the countries inside the Eurozone integrate further.  When the European Central Bank said clearing houses dealing in large volumes of euros had to be located in the Eurozone, it could have forced LCH.Clearnet to move its euro business out of London, probably to Paris.  That was struck down by the EU’s General Court, but the threat was clear.  And that is why it was so important that the Prime Minister’s negotiation guaranteed a principle of non-discrimination against businesses from countries outside the Eurozone. 

If we were not in the European Union, however, no such deal could have been agreed.  There would be little we could do to stop discriminatory policies being introduced, and London’s position as the world’s leading financial centre would be in danger.  The banks may be unpopular, but this is no small risk: financial services account for more than seven per cent of our economic output, thirteen per cent of our exports, a trade surplus of almost £60 billion – and more than one million British jobs.

But this is all about trade with Europe.  What about trade with the rest of the world?  It is tempting to look at developing countries’ economies, with their high growth rates, and see them as an alternative to trade with Europe.  But just look at the reality of our trading relationship with China – with its dumping policies, protective tariffs and industrial-scale industrial espionage.  And look at the figures.  We export more to Ireland than we do to China, almost twice as much to Belgium as we do to India, and nearly three times as much to Sweden as we do to Brazil.  It is not realistic to think we could just replace European trade with these new markets. 

And anyway, this apparent choice is a false dichotomy.  We should be aiming to increase our trade with these markets in addition to the business we win in Europe.  Given that British exports in goods and services to countries outside the EU are rising, one can hardly argue that the EU prevents this from happening.  Leaving the EU, on the other hand, might make it considerably harder.  First, we would have to replace 36 existing trade agreements we have with non-EU countries that cover 53 markets.  The EU trade deals Britain has been driving – with the US, worth £10 billion per year to the UK, with Japan, worth £5 billion a year to the UK, with Canada, worth £1.3 billion a year to the UK – would be in danger of collapse.  And while we could certainly negotiate our own trade agreements, there would be no guarantee that they would be on terms as good as those we enjoy now.  There would also be a considerable opportunity cost given the need to replace the existing agreements – not least with the EU itself – that we would have torn up as a consequence of our departure.

Inside the EU, without Britain, the balance of power in the Council of Ministers and European Parliament would change for the worse.  The liberal, free-trading countries would find themselves far below the 35 per cent blocking threshold needed in the Council, while the countries that tend towards protectionism would have an even greater percentage of votes.  There would be a very real danger that the EU heads in a protectionist direction, which would damage wider international trade and affect for the worse Britain’s future trade with the EU.

So, if we do vote to leave the European Union, we risk bringing the development of the single market to a halt, we risk a loss of investors and businesses to remaining EU member states driven by discriminatory EU policies, and we risk going backwards when it comes to international trade.  But the big question is whether, in the event of Brexit, we would be able to negotiate a new free trade agreement with the EU and on what terms.

Some say we would strike deals that are the same as the EU’s agreements with Norway, Switzerland or even Canada.  But with all due respect to those countries, we are a bigger and more powerful nation than all three.  Perhaps that means we could strike a better deal than they have.  After all, Germany will still want to sell us their cars and the French will still want to sell us their wine.  But in a stand-off between Britain and the EU, 44 per cent of our exports is more important to us than eight per cent of the EU’s exports is to them.

With no agreement, we know that WTO rules would oblige the EU to charge ten per cent tariffs on UK car exports, in line with the tariffs they impose on Japan and the United States.  They would be required to do the same for all other goods upon which they impose tariffs.  Not all of these tariffs are as high as ten per cent, but some are considerably higher.

The reality is that we do not know on what terms we would win access to the single market.  We do know that in a negotiation we would need to make concessions in order to access it, and those concessions could well be about accepting EU regulations, over which we would have no say, making financial contributions, just as we do now, accepting free movement rules, just as we do now, or quite possibly all three combined.  It is not clear why other EU member states would give Britain a better deal than they themselves enjoy.

All of this would be negotiable, of course.  For the reasons I listed earlier, Britain is big enough and strong enough to be a success story in or out of the EU.  But the question is not whether we can survive Brexit: it is whether Brexit would make us better off. And that calculation has to include not only the medium to long-term effects but the immediate risks as well.

The Union with Scotland and the other risks of Brexit

Now it is sometimes suggested that Brexit could lead to other countries seeking to leave the European Union.  Some even believe that Brexit might be a fatal blow to the whole EU project.  And some, I know, think that this would be a good thing.  But I’m afraid I disagree.  The disintegration of the EU would cause massive instability among our nearest neighbours and biggest trading partners.  With the world economy in the fragile state it is, that would have real consequences for Britain.

But if Brexit isn’t fatal to the European Union, we might find that it is fatal to the Union with Scotland.  The SNP have already said that in the event that Britain votes to leave but Scotland votes to remain in the EU, they will press for another Scottish independence referendum.  And the opinion polls show consistently that the Scottish people are more likely to be in favour of EU membership than the people of England and Wales.

If the people of Scotland are forced to choose between the United Kingdom and the European Union we do not know what the result would be.  But only a little more than eighteen months after the referendum that kept the United Kingdom together, I do not want to see the country I love at risk of dismemberment once more.  I do not want the people of Scotland to think that English Eurosceptics put their dislike of Brussels ahead of our bond with Edinburgh and Glasgow.  I do not want the European Union to cause the destruction of an older and much more precious Union, the Union between England and Scotland.

Brexit also risks changing our friendships and alliances from further afield.  In particular, as President Obama has said, it risks changing our alliance with the United States.  Now I know as well as anybody the strength and importance of that partnership – our security and intelligence agencies have the closest working relationship of any two countries in the world – and I know that it would certainly survive Britain leaving the EU.  But the Americans would respond to Brexit by finding a new strategic partner inside the European Union, a partner on matters of trade, diplomacy, security and defence, and our relationship with the United States would inevitably change as a result.  That would not, I believe, be in our national interest.

We should remain in the EU

So I want to return to the principles I set out to help us judge whether Britain should join or remain a member of international institutions.  Remaining inside the European Union does make us more secure, it does make us more prosperous and it does make us more influential beyond our shores. 

Of course, we don’t get anything like everything we want, and we have to put up with a lot that we do not want.  And when that happens, we should be honest about it.  The Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the free movement of people: none of these things work the way we would like them to work, and we need to be smarter about how we try to change these things in future.  But that does not mean we have no control over the EU.  Britain can and often does lead in Europe: the creation of the single market was driven by Mrs Thatcher, the competitiveness and trade agendas now pursued by the Commission were begun at the behest of Britain and Germany, and I can tell you that on matters of counter-terrorism and security, the rest of Europe instinctively looks towards us.  But it shouldn’t be a notable exception when Britain leads in Europe: it must become the norm.

And turning to the final test: to what extent does EU membership bind the hands of Parliament?  Of course, every directive, regulation, treaty and court ruling limits our freedom to act.  Yet Parliament remains sovereign: if it voted to leave the EU, we would do so.  But unless and until the European Communities Act is repealed, Parliament has accepted that it can only act within the limits set by the European treaties and the judgments of the Court of Justice.   The freedom to decide whether to remain a member of the EU or to leave will therefore always be in the hands of Parliament and the British people.

I do not want to stand here and insult people’s intelligence by claiming that everything about the EU is perfect, that membership of the EU is wholly good, nor do I believe those that say the sky will fall in if we vote to leave.  The reality is that there are costs and benefits of our membership and, looking to the years and decades ahead, there are risks and opportunities too.  The issues the country has to weigh up before this referendum are complex.  But on balance, and given the tests I set earlier in my speech, I believe the case to remain a member of the European Union is strong.

A different European policy

For each of the principles I set out earlier, however, I cannot help but think there would be more still in the credit rather than debit column if Britain adopted a different approach to our engagement with the EU.  Because we should be in no doubt that, if we vote to remain, our relationship with the European Union will go on changing.  And that change – with new treaties on the horizon – might be for the better or worse.

We all know the game that has been played in the past.  Prime Ministers like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown went into the Council of Ministers without a positive agenda for what Britain wanted, their advisers briefed about the five red lines they were not prepared to cross, they gave way on three, and returned triumphant claiming to have stopped the Europeans in their tracks.  If we go back to the same way of doing business, Britain will not get what it needs from the EU and the public will grow more cynical and more dissatisfied.

We have become so used to being in this permanently defensive crouch that when it comes to the EU, Britain has forgotten how to stand up and lead.  And to those who say Britain cannot achieve what it needs in Europe, I say have more belief in what Britain can do.  I say think about how Britain built the single market, and let’s be that ambitious – in the British national interest – once again.

Let us set clear objectives to complete the single market, to pursue new free trade deals with other countries, to reform the European economy and make it more competitive.  Let’s work to ensure the countries of Europe can protect their borders from illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists.  Let’s try to make sure that more of our European allies play their part in protecting western interests abroad.

We need to have a clear strategy of engagement through the Council of Ministers, seek a bigger role for Britain inside the Commission, try to stem the growth in power of the European Parliament, and work to limit the role of the Court of Justice.  We need to work not only through the EU’s institutions and summits, but by also pursuing more bilateral diplomacy with other European governments.

And it is time to question some of the traditional British assumptions about our engagement with the EU.  Do we stop the EU going in the wrong direction by shouting on the sidelines, or by leading and making the case for taking Europe in a better direction?  And do we really still think it is in our interests to support automatically and unconditionally the EU’s further expansion?  The states now negotiating to join the EU include Albania, Serbia and Turkey – countries with poor populations and serious problems with organised crime, corruption, and sometimes even terrorism.  We have to ask ourselves, is it really right that the EU should just continue to expand, conferring upon all new member states all the rights of membership?  Do we really think now is the time to contemplate a land border between the EU and countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria?  Having agreed the end of the European principle of “ever closer union”, it is time to question the principle of ever wider expansion.

Stand tall and lead

So this is my analysis of the rights and wrongs, the opportunities and risks, of our membership of the EU – and the reasons I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain a member of the European Union. 

And I want to emphasise that I think we should stay inside the EU not because I think we’re too small to prosper in the world, not because I am pessimistic about Britain’s ability to get things done on the international stage.  I think it’s right for us to remain precisely because I believe in Britain’s strength, in our economic, diplomatic and military clout, because I am optimistic about our future, because I believe in our ability to lead and not just follow.

But I know what a difficult decision this is going to be for a lot of people.  I know, because of the conversations I have with my constituents every Saturday.  Because of the discussions I’ve had with members of the public – and members of the Conservative Party – up and down the country.  And because I myself have already gone through the process of carefully weighing up what is in Britain’s interests, now and in the future, before making my decision.  Ultimately, this is a judgement for us all, and it’s right that people should take their time and listen to all the arguments. 

So as we approach polling day, and as the country starts to weigh up its decision, let us focus on the future.  Instead of debating the peripheral, the ephemeral and the trivial, let both sides of the argument debate what matters.  And let us do so in a serious and mature way.  Let us concentrate on Britain’s national interest.  Britain’s future.  Our influence around the world.  Our security.  And our prosperity.  Let us make our decision with the great challenges of the future in mind.  Let us have more confidence in our ability to get things done in Europe.  This is about our future.  Let us, Great Britain, stand tall and lead.

2013 Claiming EU Migrants are “benefits tourists”

In April 2013 Theresa May, when Home Secretary,  claimed that these EU migrants are “benefit tourists”.  When pressed by the EU for evidence of this claim it came to light that in fact there was  no evidence to back these claims as the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK.

2014 Suppressing good news on immigration

It is now being reported that Theresa May tried very hard to suppress any positive findings in a 2014 report on EU migration. Theresa May faces accusations from within government that she tried to remove evidence about the positive impact of immigration on the British economy from a critical report that was published before the EU referendum.

2015 Blaming immigrants for pushing 1,000s out of work

Again whilst Home Secretary, at the 2015 Autumn Tory party conference, Theresa May claimed that immigration is pushing thousands out of work, undercutting wages and bringing no economic benefit to the UK.

These are just not the facts, as any number of studies show.  Where studies have been undertaken they show no evidence of EU migration taking jobs from UK Citizens, in many cases actually increasing the number of jobs available. These claims are debunked in the blog Freedom of Movement isn’t the problem

2016 Refusing to look for ways to improve the image of Immigration and the UK’s ability to control immigration

In the book, All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, claims May refused to support Cameron’s hardline approach to negotiations with EU leaders and rejected his plans to ask for an “emergency brake” on immigration – a stance Cameron described as “lily-livered”.

Cameron’s director of communications, Sir Craig Oliver, says in his exposé of Downing Street that the former prime minister’s advisers used the nickname “Submarine May” because she never came to the surface to support his efforts. In his book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of the EU Referendum, published in the Mail on Sunday, Cameron’s chief spin doctor says the prime minister pleaded with May to “come off the fence” about Brexit.

2016 Blaming Foreign Students of outstaying their welcome

The Home Office has , whilst Theresa May was the Home secretary, consistently claimed that “tens of thousands a year” of foreign students fail to leave at the end of their course. In fact only 1 per cent of international students break the terms of their visa by refusing to leave after their course ends, a secret government study has found – around 1,500 per year. The Times revealed on 13/10/2016 that Ministers hide report on migrant numbers .  The research threatens to undermine Theresa May’s case for a crackdown on foreign student recruitment and calls into question past estimates that put the figure far higher.

Official statistics have been used to suggest that tens of thousands of foreign students “vanish” each year after finishing their degrees, but the latest study would suggest that the true figure is 1,500.

2016 Keeping Immigration figures “artificially” high

The current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, was overruled by Theresa May when she argued to remove students from the migration numbers. Rudd failed in bid to exempt students from migrant curbs.

Students are included in the Migration numbers which has the effect of overstating the immigration problem.

2016 Blaming EU Migrants for taking jobs

Theresa May 5/10/16 Conservative Party Conference

In her “If you are a Citizen of the World you are a Citizen of Nowhere” speech she said:

“and I know a lot of people don’t like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn’t seem fair”

Theresa May seems not to have a problem with making statements she knows are not true. She has a history of blaming migrants and immigration for the UK’s economic decline., rather than explaining the truth i.e that EU migration has had a hugely positive impact allowing the UK to expand it’s workforce by 2.1m without displacing the jobs of UK natives*, without affecting wage levels, helping to keep inflation in check** and contributing a net £12.2 b to the HMRC a year Ms May seems hellbent on “blaming the immigrants”.

Myths debunked in this link

Other sources