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Leave campaigner needs to get his facts right over costs and implications of exiting European Union

letter of the day: scre

Published 07/06/2016

I read with interest Jeff Peel's piece (Write Back, May 27) on the sense among voters that they are "badly briefed" about the forthcoming referendum. Yet Mr Peel himself then goes on to brief them badly, by repeating the - false - statement that the UK sends £350m to the EU every week.

Unfortunately, the Leave side does not stop there. It suggests further that this fantasy amount of money could be "spent on the NHS". It could not.

Indeed, the Leave side had to confess in the end that Northern Ireland is a net beneficiary from the EU in terms of finance alone (never mind the further benefits of trade, medical research, educational exchange and so on).

Mr Peel then implies that having customs checkpoints at Newry would have no impact on trade. That is quite obviously untrue, too.

Let us again be clear: the Common Travel Area covers movement of people, but not of goods; we have free trade with the Republic of Ireland because we are both EU member states and, if one of us leaves the EU, we could not continue to trade freely with it, or any other member state (except if we signed a trade deal with the EU which would compel us to accept all its regulations anyway, thus rendering pointless the act of leaving even on the Leave campaign's own terms).

Furthermore, it has now added into the mix something about Turkey joining in the EU - something which is not remotely imminent and over which the UK has a veto, anyway.

If people wish to suggest people are "badly briefed" and then argue for the Leave side, the least they could do is challenge the nonsense and outright misinformation coming from that side.

It would already be an act of folly to leave the EU based on the facts; but to leave it based on fiction would be truly outrageous and would come at significant cost to every household and business in Northern Ireland.

IAN JAMES PARSLEY

Chair, European Movement NI

Belfast Telegraph

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