— Murnaghan (@SkyMurnaghan) December 4, 2016
A big barney on Sky News as Dermot Murnaghan accuses Boris of lying over his free movement comments. Boris hits back by telling Sky their story was
“cooked up… I’m not entirely convinced your reporter talked to those ambassadors… Your story was a dud, it was wrong, it was a load of old baloney… [the journalist] was offered something that was completely untrue, it was nonsense… I’m glad that it’s been corrected.”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) December 4, 2016
Boris made clear on Marr that he is against “large” payments to the EU in exchange for single market access, stressing the need to take back control of the money we send to Brussels. This will be framed as a split between Boris/Fox on one side and May/Hammond/Davis on the other. Brexiteers should remain calm though. It’s sensible to consider all options for free trade with the EU – Brexit always likely meant we could still pay in on some aspects – just as it’s sensible to oppose sending Brussels exorbitant sums…
Italy’s ambassador to London Pasquale Terracciano has gone on the record to the Sunday Telegraph to confirm Boris did not back freedom of movement, contrary to the Sky News report that caused such a stir this week. Terracciano reveals:
“We do not normally comment on discussion we have at EU Ambassadors’ level with members of Government. But since this particular issue has become focus of press speculations, I will tell you that Boris Johnson chose not to speak about the principle of freedom of movement within the EU. He said instead that he had always been favourable in principle to immigration but also added that immigration needed to be controlled.”
So what Boris said was completely consistent with the 10 times he opposed freedom of movement posted by Guido on Thursday. A second ambassador confirms to the Sunday Telegraph:
“My recollection was that he didn’t say anything that was different [from his public stance]. I don’t think I even made any particular note of what he said on that issue because it was simply in line with what I already knew to be Government policy.”
Who’d have thought those four anonymous ambassadors briefing against Boris to friendly Sky News were up to no good? And surely the BBC will give this new development equal prominence too. Awkward one for tonight’s Sky paper review…
Yesterday Guido revealed how civil servants at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had sent out a press release discussing what will happen “if the UK leaves the EU”. Well, the press release has now been updated to end the uncertainty and make clear there is no “if” about Brexit. Did Downing Street have another word with Sir Humphrey?
Boris could not be clearer on Sky News‘ free movement story, which has led the bulletins as fact all day: “I said no such thing”. Have Sky been had by their anonymous EU sources?
Civil servants at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have let slip their belief that Britain might not leave the EU by 2019. In a press release on funding for EU students on courses lasting until the end of 2019, BEIS have said “the funding support will cover the duration of their course, even if the UK leaves the EU”. Since March 2019 will be two years after Article 50 is triggered, surely BEIS meant to say “when the UK leaves the EU“, not “if“. Sir Humphrey is increasingly forgetful lately…
Mischievous anonymous EU ambassadors have briefed Sky News that Boris has privately said he supports free movement. Boris strongly denies this and challenges them to prove he said it. Is this another example of the fake news epidemic? Boris has been very clear about his views on free movement…
On November 15 Boris said it was a “myth,” “nonsense” and “bollocks” to say free movement is a founding principles of the EU.
On September 25 Boris said it was “complete baloney” to link free movement with the single market.
On June 26 Boris said people had voted for “control” over immigration.
Boris pledges a tough new Australian-style immigration system after Brexit on June 1.
There is no mention of free movement in Boris’ pro-Remain article.
In his pro-Leave article he bemoaned the “lack of control” on immigration.
In December 2015 Boris called for an opt-out of free movement rules.
In his 2015 conference speech, Boris said: “it should be up to this parliament and this country – not Jean Claude Juncker – to decide if too many people are coming here”.
In October 2014 Boris called for quotas of EU migrants.
In January 2014 Boris said he was pro-migration but had a “problem” with free movement.
Unusually for him, Boris has always been consistent on free movement, even well before the referendum. He is pro the benefits of migration but wants control of borders decided by Westminster. Why is that so hard for Remainers to understand?
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