Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has launched an all-out attack on the Leave campaign. In a speech at Chatham House on Wednesday, Hammond claimed he was trying to “smoke out” the Leave campaign and force them to admit there are serious flaws with their argument that Britain would be better off outside of the EU.
Hammond was speaking ahead of the publication of a document by the government which claims there is no credible blueprint for Britain to succeed outside the EU.
Here is how Hammond introduced his speech:
“None of the options that are remotely likely to be deliverable, comes remotely close to matching the deal that we already have on the table. So why would we take the leap in the dark? Why would we risk the effect of years of uncertainty on the British economy? Why would we take that chance with our children’s future, risking our influence, our prosperity, and our security? When by voting to remain we can have the best of both worlds in a reformed EU, rather than the worst of both outside. A powerful voice inside Europe, instead of a lonely voice outside.”
Over the course of his speech and a question and answer session, Hammond basically said none of the alternatives to being in the EU are any good. Here’s what he had to say about each of them:
- Full or limited access to the single market with a deal similar to Norway or Switzerland: Hammond said the price of striking one of these deals with the EU would mean that Britain wouldn’t have total access to the single market and would still have to accept freedom of movement of European migrants.
- A clean break — the World Trade Organisation option: Britain would have to pay tariffs to sell into the EU still. Hammond says that these tariffs are 10% on cars, 30% on confectionery, and 36% on dairy.
Additionally, Hammond outlined some fears about a Brexit that we haven’t really heard yet. He said it could take “longer than the Second World War” for the UK to negotiate leaving the European Union and refused to say that Brits living in EU countries like Spain wouldn’t be forced to come home. He also said backers of the Leave campaign such as former Conservative leader Michael Howard were secretly “prepared to sacrifice growth and jobs” in order to slow down immigration.
The Leave campaign have been quick to dismiss the government publication that Hammond was using as the basis for his speech. His cabinet colleague, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith, has called the document a “dodgy dossier” — a reference to the incorrect Iraq Dossier used as the basis for the UK joining in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He said:
“This dodgy dossier won’t fool anyone, and is proof that Remain are in denial about the risks of remaining in a crisis-ridden EU. The truth is, we won’t copy any other country’s deal. We will have a settlement on our own terms — and one that will return control of our borders, and money to Britain. That’s the safer choice.”
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