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What is the biggest lie of Brexit? There are so many, it's hard to choose, and perhaps we should hold a competition.

Here is my choice (repeated endlessly by Brexiters of all persuasions: Brexit is about promoting free trade.

Many Brexiters have made this claim, including @RupertLowe10, @DanielJHannan and @LiamFox. Here is our trade secretary, @trussliz boasting about the trading opportunities with Africa


Nothing could be further from the truth than the Brexit lie that leaving the EU will promote free trade. In fact, Brexit is the deliberate decision to tear up our existing free trade arrangements, and replace them with inferior ones, thereby making trade less free.

To start with, the European single market is literally the largest free market in the world, so successful that it is being copied in the Gulf (GCC), Caribbean (CARCOM), Eurasia (EEU) and South America (MERCOSUR).

Brexit involves leaving the frictionless single market and trading with the EU with an inferior free trade deal (FTA). Even if the FTA involves zero tariffs and no quotas it will involve customs declarations and checks (more expensive than tariffs and disrupt supply chains).

Brexit also involves abandoning the numerous FTAs we have helped the EU to negotiate with third countries, eg Japan. Many of these FTAs have 'most favoured nation' clauses that prohibit the third countries from offering a better deal to other third countries (including us).

Also the EU's current arrangements with some countries (e.g. the Everything But Arms scheme offers zero tariffs and no quotas to least developed nations, most of Africa, literally cannot be bettered). Are you listening @trussliz?:…

Which is why just about every economist on the planet is predicting an economic hit from Brexit (with the exception of a few nutters in Economists for Brexit). More trade friction = less trade = less wealth and less jobs. It's not rocket science.

So the barefaced lie that Brexit will allow the UK to be a bucaneering champion of global free trade is my choice for the worst Brexit lie of all. You could not lie more if you insisted black was white.

But perhaps you can think of an even worse lie.

End of latest rant.

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