Theresa May’s 60 second film is misleading the UK about Brexit. Again.

Theresa May
Fréa Lockley

On 24 November, the EU agreed to the terms of Theresa May’s Brexit deal. So she’s on a full-blown PR offensive to champion her deal. On 26 November, May sent out a tweet with a video that claimed it explained the Brexit deal in 60 seconds. But the trouble is, it contains inaccuracies, omissions and misleading statements.

“Heart and soul”

For two weeks – ahead of a crucial vote in parliament – May will put her “heart and soul” into convincing the country that her deal is the best deal. The 60-second video claims that the Brexit deal means:

No more sending vast sums of money to the EU, meaning we can spend it on our NHS.

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Um, haven’t we been here before?

Hang on…

The claim that Brexit means more money for the NHS isn’t new. Firstly, there was Boris Johnson’s campaign bus during the EU referendum. It claimed we send £350m to the EU every week and that post-Brexit this would go to the NHS. Later reports indicate that the actual sum is closer to £234m a week. And the UK Statistics Authority criticised Johnson for “his repeated use of the number, calling it a ‘clear misuse of official statistics‘”.

Then in June, came May’s ‘Brexit dividend’. She claimed post-Brexit, the NHS would get an extra “£20 billion a year by 2023”. As Channel 4 Fact Check established, this amounts to an extra £600m a week in real terms by 2023-24 which is:

more than double the more accurate £234 million sum, so it’s hard to see how this can be wholly funded by what we save on EU membership fees by leaving the trade bloc.

As it also pointed out, “the money we could have saved has already been earmarked to cover the costs of leaving”. The government has pledged to cover existing EU funding for “UK businesses, universities and industries that currently receive cash from EU institutions”.

The ‘divorce deal’ is now known to be £39bn. Latest figures also estimate that the current deal will “leave the UK £100bn worse off by 2030 than if it had remained in the EU”. Even Jeremy Hunt acknowledged this:

So it’s not clear where this extra NHS funding will actually come from.

Northern where?

There’s not a single mention of Northern Ireland in the video. It claims we’ll leave “with a good deal for every part of the UK”.

Erm, not sure that the DUP, which claims May’s deal is “the worst possible outcome”, agrees? Not least because EU officials made it very clear that the deal on the table “cannot be revised”.

Jeremy Corbyn also said:

This is a bad deal for the country. It is the result of a miserable failure of negotiation that leaves us with the worst of all worlds. It gives us less say over our future, and puts jobs and living standards at risk.

Brexit danger

The video also states this deal ends “free movement once and for all”, as though that’s a good thing. May already said that, after Brexit, EU nationals can’t “jump the queue ahead of engineers from Sydney or software developers from Delhi”.

The video also claims that the UK will leave the European Court of Justice (ECJ). But this is misleading:

And the UK will still be bound by the ECJ, but without any benefits:

To make so many misleading and inaccurate statements in only 60 seconds is not only desperate, it’s dangerous.

Featured image via screengrab

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