“We thought we were only joining a free trade zone”

Not true. We were never hoodwinked. We actually left a free trade zone (EFTA) to join the EU, specifically because we felt free trade was not enough. The Wilson government, setting out its reasons for applying in 1967, stressed that “Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and we can — and indeed we must — play our full part in it”. And before the referendum in 1975, national newspapers on both left and right were clear that political, not just economic, integration was proposed and would be a positive outcome. Evidence


“British businesses are drowning in EU red tape”

Not true. When we get it right, EU legislation is an exercise in cutting red tape! After all, we need common rules for the common market to protect workers, consumers and the environment. When we replace 28 divergent sets of national rules with a single set of pan-European rules, we can cut duplication and compliance costs. Just one example: it’s now possible to register a trademark once, valid across 28 countries, instead of having to do 28 different sets of form-filling, registering, troubleshooting and fee-paying. Evidence EU technical standards are generally drafted and agreed by the industry themselves. This means that most standards are based on the national regulations that they replace, rather than brand new requirements. Of course, we would need those rules anyway, but sharing them across the entire market means businesses only have to work to one set of standards rather than 28.Evidence Simplifying the compliance framework for businesses in particular has been a major priority of the European Commission in recent years. The REFIT programme is a rolling scheme to evaluate, simplify and repeal rules. Evidence


“Our most important markets are China and the US, not the EU”

Not true. The EU is the world’s biggest single market, and it’s far and away our biggest trading partner, amounting to well over half of our world exports. Indeed, we export more to Holland alone than to the entirety of the Commonwealth. Evidence

The same applies to our imports, with European countries providing about two thirds of our incoming goods and services. Evidence