Mordaunt slammed over 'misleading' Brexit warning by Raworth
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It comes as Mordaunt hit back after being accused by the BBC’s Sophie Raworth of previously lying about a key Brexit concern. The pro-Brexit leadership contestant said in 2016 the UK could not have stopped Turkey from joining the EU despite itself then being a member of the bloc.
Turkey’s potential accession into the group became a major talking point in the run-up to the referendum given the number of additional people who would have had the right to freely migrate to the UK.
Appearing on the BBC this morning, Mordaunt was challenged by Sophie Raworth who insisted “in actual fact, we did have a veto”, accusing her of “misleading rhetoric”.
But the leadership hopeful quipped back: “Just because there’s a provision in a treaty, doesn’t mean that the UK could ever have used that.”
She added: “I’m very proud to have fought for Brexit, to have campaigned for it, voted for it and to have helped deliver it.”
Ms Loiseau tweeted in response: “Turkey has made no progress towards accession to the EU, neither before nor after the Brexit referendum. Not a single Member State in the EU is advocating for having Turkey in. In any case, the accession of a country to the EU is decided unanimously.”
She continued: “What the EU just decided is to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. A very positive move which the UK supports and which shows the EU’s attractiveness.
“This discussion is therefore completely disconnected from facts, rules and realities. As it is too often the case with Brexit.”
Ms Mordaunt was shown a clip from during the Brexit referendum over Turkey’s accession to the European Union.
She argued Britain could not veto that accession as Prime Minister David Cameron had pledged to let Turkey into the European Union.
Ms Raworth pointed out that Article 49 of the EU treaty did allow Britain to veto that application.
Asked if she accepted her claim was misleading, Mr Mordaunt said: “No. First of all, I am very proud to have fought for Brexit, campaigned for it, voted for it and helped deliver it. And that’s a classic example of the campaign that we were up against. David Cameron had given undertakings to Turkey that we would support, the United Kingdom would support its accession into the EU.
“Just because there’s a provision in a treaty does not mean the UK could ever have ever used that. And to have gone back on what as government policy, those undertakings that he (David Cameron) had given to Turkey, a key NATO ally, have been crazy. But the point that I made on that clip – and I feel very strongly about it – is that the British people did not have a say. They did have a say during the referendum.”
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BBC’s Sophie Raworth: “But it was a fact that the UK did have a veto, wasn’t it? Member states’ right to veto is spelt out in article 49 of the treaty on the EU. You claimed we did not have a veto. Do you accept that what you said at the time was misleading?”
Ms Mordaunt hit back: “No, no.”
Ms Raworth fired back: “It’s in Article 49.”
Ms Mordaunt retorted: “We did not, Sophy, have a veto because we couldn’t use that provision in the treaty. And the clip says it as I see it, the British people did not have a say.”
Turkey has so far failed to join the EU and is currently at the candidate status stage just like Ukraine.
Turkey did sign a Customs Union agreement with the EU in 1995 to allow free trade between the bloc and Turkey.
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