David Cameron repeatedly refused to answer basic questions on Turkey

Responding to David Cameron’s appearance on Question Time, Vote Leave Chief Executive Matthew Elliott said:

‘David Cameron repeatedly refused to say that he would veto Turkey joining the EU. That’s because - in his own words - he is the “strongest possible advocate” of Turkey joining. He has said before that he is “angry” that it is taking too long for Turkey to join. The EU has recently accelerated talks with Turkey with David Cameron’s support and UK taxpayers are sending £1 billion to Turkey to help them join. You cannot trust Cameron on Turkey.

‘Cameron had no answers to people’s legitimate concerns on immigration tonight and failed to set out how he would meet his manifesto pledge to bring the numbers back down to the tens of thousands while remaining in the EU. He had no answer on how we would fund the NHS to cope with higher levels of immigration.

‘He has avoided speaking to the British public throughout the campaign because he knows that they do not believe him anymore on the EU. It showed tonight as he was openly mocked by the audience. If you don’t believe Cameron’s spin and want to take back control you need to Vote Leave on Thursday.’

Notes to editors

David Cameron refused, again, to veto Turkish accession to the EU or the continuation of accession talks, which he could do tomorrow.

  • David Cameron strongly supports Turkish accession and has said he is ‘angry’ at the slow pace of Turkish accession. In 2010, Cameron said he was ‘angry’ at the slow pace of Turkish accession, that he was the ‘strongest possible advocate for EU membership’ for Turkey, and that ‘I want us to pave the road from Ankara to Brussels’ (Prime Minister’s Office, 27 July 2010, link). In 2014, he said that: ‘In terms of Turkish membership of the EU, I very much support that. That’s a longstanding position of British foreign policy which I support’ (Daily Telegraph, 9 December 2014, link).
  • The EU is accelerating Turkish accession with unanimous support. In a press release issued on 15 June, the European Commission has announced that ‘The Commission tabled the Draft Common Position on Chapter 33 (financial and budgetary provisions) in the Council on 29 April, enabling the Council to decide on the opening of this Chapter by end of June. In addition, preparatory work continues at an accelerated pace to make progress on five Chapters’ (European Commission, 15 June 2016, link). The Commission issued a detailed statement on the rapidly accelerating progress of Turkish accession this morning. Part of this process will occur ‘at the end of June’, just after the public votes (European Commission, 15 June, 2016, link). On 18 March 2016, the European Council unanimously agreed that the EU should ‘re-energise the accession process’ and that Turkish acceleration should be ‘accelerated’ (European Council, 18 March 2016, link).
  • The Government admitted it supported Turkish accession during the campaign. In April, the Europe Minister, David Lidington, said: ‘The UK supports Turkey’s EU accession process (Turkey: EU Accession: Written question - 33258, 14 April 2016, link).
  • The British public will not get a vote on the accession of Turkey to the EU. The European Union Act 2011 allows the Government to ratify EU accession treaties without a referendum (European Union Act 2011, s. 4(4)(c), link). There was no referendum on the accession of Croatia to the EU in 2013 (European Union (Croatian Accession and Irish Protocol) Act 2013, s. 1, link).
  • The Government opposes giving the British people a say. As the Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said in 2011: ‘A few years ago, 10 new member states joined the European Union at the same time. I believe that their combined population then was 73 million, which is slightly greater than Turkey's population is now. I do not believe that anybody in this country argued at that time that a British referendum on those accessions was right’ (Hansard, 24 January 2011, col. 123, link).
  • We are paying billions to Turkey and other candidate countries to join. Turkey is set to receive £1 billion of UK funds to help prepare it for membership. The EU is paying €17.7 billion to Albania, Serbia, Turkey, Macedonia and Montenegro to join the EU. The UK is paying almost £1.8 billion to these five countries to join (Vote Leave, 27 April 2016, link). The new European Council building contains chairs and building space for Turkey when it joins (Daily Mail, May 2016, link).


Wages will rise if we Vote Leave as the leader of David Cameron’s campaign admitted. ‘Experts’ such as the Bank of England and the Chancellor’s former advisor agree.

  • The Chairman of the IN campaign, Lord Rose of Monewden, has said that: ‘the price of labour will go up’ in the event of a vote to leave (Evidence to Treasury Committee, March 2016, link).
  • The Bank of England has found that ‘the immigrant to native ratio has a small negative impact on average British wages’ (Bank of England, December 2015, link). The study found that ‘immigrants in recent years are most predominant in low-skill occupations’ (Bank of England, December 2015, link). The study concluded that: ‘the biggest effect is in the semi/unskilled services sector, where a 10 percentage point rise in the proportion of immigrants is associated with a 2 percent reduction in pay’ (Bank of England, December 2015, link).
  • A BlackRock report in February co-written by Rupert Harrison, a former close advisor to the Chancellor, said leaving the EU could mean 'lower immigration [which] could make labour scarcer in the long run, pushing up wage costs' (BlackRock, February 2016, link).


David Cameron admitted ‘we pay in more than we get out’. He was right.

  • In 2014, the UK’s gross contributions to the EU budget were £19,107 million, or £367 million per week (ONS, October 2015, tab 9.9, link). The Head of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Andrew Dilnot, has said 'Yes, the £19.1 billion figure is a legitimate figure for gross contributions... the official statistics are the £19.1 billion' (Evidence to Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, 26 April 2016, link).
  • In 2015, the UK’s net contribution was £10.6 billion (ONS, 31 March 2016, link).


The UK does not have a ‘special status’ in a ‘reformed’ EU. This is spin from David Cameron.

  • This term is nowhere used in the Decision of the Heads of Government (European Council, 19 February 2016, link). It is simply spin.
  • The Decision does not bind the European Court, which will continue to treat the UK as it treats every other member state. In 1979, it stated that ‘the equality of Member States before Community law’ was ‘at the very root of the Community legal order’ (Commission v United Kingdom [1979] ECR 419, para [12], link).
  • The EU is fundamentally unchanged. Even if promised changes to the Treaties were made (and there is no guarantee of this), the Treaties would remain 99% the same as they were before the renegotiation (Vote Leave, February 2016, link).


David Cameron’s deal is not legally-binding.

  • In 1992, Denmark was promised - via exactly the same type of deal that the UK is now being offered - that EU citizenship would ‘not in any way take the place of national citizenship. The question whether an individual possesses the nationality of a Member State will be settled solely by reference to the national law of the Member State concerned’ (Edinburgh European Council, 12 December 1992, link). The Prime Minister, John Major, said the Danish deal was ‘a legally binding decision’ (John Major Doorstep Interview with Jacques Delors, 12 December 1992, link).
  • Less than a decade later, the European Court broke this agreement, declaring EU citizenship would ‘be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States’ (Grzelczyk [2001] ECR I-6193, link). It has now broken this promise on 80 occasions (Vote Leave, December 2015, link). In its Rottmann ruling, the European Court said that ‘Member States must, when exercising their powers in the sphere of nationality, have due regard to European Union law’, blocking member states from automatically stripping national citizenship from criminals who acquire it fraudulently, in direct breach of the Danish deal (Rottmann [2010] ECR I-1449, link).
  • The UK Supreme Court has said Rottmann is ‘in the face of the clear language’ of promises made to Denmark (Pham v Home Secretary [2015] UKSC 19, para [90], link).


Contrary to David Cameron’s claims tonight, the Government has already accepted that its welfare changes are subject to further negotiation.

  • After the renegotiation finished, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord O'Neill of Gatley, conceded that: ‘Details of the proposals for restricting in-work benefits for EU nationals will be subject to further negotiation and we cannot speculate on these’. The Minister was unable even to state which benefits the ‘emergency brake’ might apply to (Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals: Written question - HL5972, 22 February 2016, link).


David Cameron claims it is ‘freedom of movement to work’. This is false.

  • As early as 1991, the European Court held that the ‘Treaty entails the right for nationals of Member States to move freely within the territory of the other Member States and to stay there for the purposes of seeking employment’ (R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal, Ex parte Antonissen, 26 February 1991, link).
  • This is still the case - in the last year alone 77,000 EU migrants came to the UK looking for a job (ONS, 26 May 2016, link). This despite the PM’s promise in 2014 to stop this. In November 2014, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, promised that ‘we want EU jobseekers to have a job offer before they come here… So let’s be clear what all these changes taken together will mean. EU migrants should have a job offer before they come here’ (JCB Staffordshire speech, 28 November 2014, link).


David Cameron has failed to meet his manifesto promises on child benefit and tax credits.

  • The Conservative Manifesto promised: ‘If an EU migrant’s child is living abroad, then they should receive no child benefit or child tax credit, no matter how long they have worked in the UK and no matter how much tax they have paid’ (Conservative Manifesto 2015, p. 30, link).
  • David Cameron’s renegotiation will still allow the export of child benefit. The deal says new EU legislation could give member states ‘an option to index such benefits to the conditions of the Member State where the child resides’ (European Council, 19 February 2016, link). This also only applies to new claimants and makes clear the export of child benefit will continue.
  • Cameron also promised that EU migrants would not be able to claim child benefit during their first four years in the UK. The 2015 Conservative Manifesto stated: ‘We will insist that EU migrants who want to claim tax credits and child benefit must live here and contribute to our country for a minimum of four years’ (Conservative Manifesto 2015, p. 30, link).
  • Since child benefit, unlike certain tax credits, is not a ‘non-contributory in-work benefit’, it would appear the emergency brake will not apply to it, meaning the Conservative Manifesto has likely been broken (Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, s. 141, link).


Persons coming to the UK with EU law rights account for more than half of net migration.

  • EU net migration in 2015 was 184,000. Non-EU net migration was 188,000.
  • Family members of EU citizens who are third country nationals have a right to enter and reside in the UK under EU law (Directive 2004/38/EC, art. 3, link). In 2015, the Home Office issued 30,309 EEA family permits to persons outside the UK (Home Office, 3 March 2016, link). This is more than the difference between EU and non-EU net migration.
  • In addition, the European Court has granted rights of residence in the UK to other third country nationals in several other high profile cases (see, for example, Chen v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] ECR I-9925, link; Carpenter v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2002] ECR I-6279, link; Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi [2011] ECR I-1177, link).


David Cameron’s ‘emergency brake’ on migrants benefits will have no impact on migration, as many independent experts have confirmed.

  • In December, one of the top three members of the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, Sir Stephen Nickell CBE, has said changes to migration would have ‘not much’ impact on migration (BBC News, 8 December 2015, link).
  • Oxford University’s Migration Observatory concluded that the proposed welfare reforms are ‘unlikely’ to ‘lead to a large reduction in EU migration to the UK’ (Oxford University Migration Observatory, 4 May 2016, link).


Public services are under pressure due to EU migration.

  • The pubic want change. ICM polling shows that by 49% to 26%, the public think recent EU migration has been bad for the UK and that 58% would be unhappy if current levels continue. A majority of the public think recent EU migration has been bad for the NHS (55%), schools (58%) and housing (67%) (Daily Mail, 2 June 2016, link).
  • David Cameron supports free movement. David Cameron has said: ‘we should continue to support migration and free movement…I do not want us to get out of the idea of free movement... Let me be clear: I support the principle of free movement’ (Hansard, 5 January 2016, cols 31, 35 & 37, link).
  • Pressure on the NHS. In 2015-2016, NHS providers in England recorded a deficit of £2.45 billion, partly due to ‘rising demand’ (NHS Improvement, 26 May 2016, link). In March, 265,834 persons waited more than four hours in accident and emergency wards, up from 33,184 in August 2010. 12.7% of all persons attending A&E now wait for more than four hours (NHS England, April 2016, link).
  • Pressure on schools. The Local Government Association has said that two-fifths of primary schools will be overcrowded by September this year, and that pressure from a rising population is reaching a ‘tipping point’ (BBC News, 3 April 2015, link).
  • Pressure on housing. The 2011 census showed that 1.1 million households were overcrowded (ONS, 17 April 2014, link). The construction industry suggests that the UK is already ‘1 million homes short of the number it needs to meet its housing needs’ (Get Britain Building, 2016, link). If net migration continues at current levels, there is almost no chance of today’s overcrowding or undersupply being addressed. Shelter has already noted that: ‘Each year we build 100,000 fewer homes than we need, adding to a shortage that has been growing for decades’ (KPMG/Shelter, 2014, link).


David Cameron used to accept you could control immigration without damaging the economy.

  • In 2011, David Cameron said: ‘what I’m trying to say today is, you know, those who say you can’t control immigration without damaging the economy, that this is a forlorn hope, I really believe that’s wrong. We can control immigration. We can do it in a way that doesn’t damage the economy’ (Speech on immigration, 10 October 2011, link).


EU migrants can claim unemployment benefit, despite David Cameron’s claims.

  • EU law gives EU nationals the same rights to jobseeker’s allowance as UK nationals following a period of employment of a year in the UK, and an equivalent right for six months if they have been employed in the UK for less than a year (Directive 2004/38/EC, art. 7(3), link; Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1003, reg. 6, link).
  • There is no requirement under EU law to pay non-contributory cash benefits designed to provide subsistence to persons who entered the UK seeking work and who have never found it. However, that was clear before the Prime Minister began his renegotiation (Directive 2004/38/EC, art. 24(2), link; Dano v Jobcenter Leipzig, Case C-333/13, link; Jobcenter Berlin Neukölln v Nazifa Alimanovic, Case C-67/14, link)


It is illegal under EU law to remove all jobseekers after six months and there is no mechanism for doing so, despite David Cameron’s claims.

  • The Prime Minister promised that all jobseekers would be removed after six months and has claimed this has already been achieved. In 2014, David Cameron promised that: ‘[I]f an EU jobseeker has not found work within six months, they will be required to leave’ (BBC News, 28 November 2014, link). In his Chatham House speech in November 2015, the Prime Minister said that this pledge had ‘already been achieved’ (Prime Minister’s Office, 10 November 2015, link).
  • The EU Treaties forbid the removal of all jobseekers after six months. In 1991, the European Court of Justice ruled that the Treaties forbid the removal of jobseekers from another EU member state regardless of the duration of their stay if ‘the person concerned provides evidence that he is continuing to seek employment and that he has genuine chances of being engaged’ (R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal, Ex parte Antonissen [1991] ECR I-745, operative para, link).
  • The Free Movement Directive forbids the removal of all jobseekers after six months. The Free Movement Directive provides that: ‘an expulsion measure may in no case be adopted against Union citizens or their family members if… the Union citizens entered the territory of the host Member State in order to seek employment. In this case, the Union citizens and their family members may not be expelled for as long as the Union citizens can provide evidence that they are continuing to seek employment and that they have a genuine chance of being engaged’ (Directive 2004/38/EC, art. 14(4)(b), link).
  • The Government admitted in December that many jobseekers could remain for longer than six months. The Home Office Minister, James Brokenshire, admitted in December that some EU migrants can ‘keep the status of jobseeker for longer than six months’ (‘EU Nationals: Employment: Written question – 17574’, 2 December 2015, link).
  • There is no mechanism for monitoring whether or not jobseekers remain in the UK for over six months. In any event, EU law forbids systematic verification of whether EU citizens are lawfully resident in the UK. It states that ‘this verification shall not be carried out systematically’ (Directive 2004/38/EC, art. 14(2), link).


Cameron has broken his promise to fix free movement and to cut migration to the tens of thousands.

  • In his 2014 conference speech, Cameron said: ‘Numbers that have increased faster than we in this country wanted at a level that was too much for our communities, for our labour markets. All of this has to change – and it will be at the very heart of my renegotiation strategy for Europe (Conservative Press Office, 1 October 2014, link).
  • The 2010 Conservative Manifesto promised that ‘we will take steps to take net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands’ (Invitation to Join the Government of Britain, 2010, link).
  • The 2015 Conservative Manifesto promised to ‘keep our ambition of delivering annual net migration in the tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands’ (Conservative Party, 2015, link).


David Cameron exaggerated the length of time it will take to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU.

  • Oxford Economics has said that ‘an analysis of regional trade deals conducted over the past 20 years found an average duration of 28 months’ (Oxford Economics, 2016, link).
  • There are many examples: the US-Australia free trade agreement (FTA) was concluded in less than two years (Library of Congress, 3 August 2003, link; Australian Government, 2016, link); the Switzerland-China FTA was negotiated in a little over two years (Centre for Security Studies, February 2014, link; Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, 2016, link); and the US-Canada FTA was negotiated in less than two years (Government of Canada, 2016, link).


The EU has failed to strike a free trade agreement with China.

  • The EU has failed to negotiate a free trade agreement with China.
  • Both Iceland (which has a population of less than half a million) and Switzerland have negotiated free trade agreements with China (Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2013, link; Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, 2014, link).
  • Australia has done so as well (Australian Government, 2016, link).
  • The time between New Zealand beginning negotiations for a free trade agreement with China and the agreement’s entry into force was just four years (New Zealand Government, 2016, link).


Leading car manufacturers have made clear that jobs and investment would not be affected if we Vote Leave.

  • Tim Tozer, Chairman and Managing Director, of Vauxhall Motors has said: ‘If this country would vote to leave the EU, would that trouble or concern us? There my answer is no because I don’t think that in that event there would not be a trade agreement with what was left of the EU’ (BBC Radio 4, Today Programme, 15 September 2015, link).
  • Kevin Rose, board member, at Bentley has said: ‘We made our plans, we've announced the investments ... and they were in full knowledge that there was a referendum so we believe in the UK … Regardless [of the outcome], we think that the UK is a good place for investment’ (Reuters, 17 September 2015, link).
  • Karl-Thomas Neumann, Chief Executive of Opel has said: 'We have plants in Luton and Ellesmere port. We will not turn our back on England... life would carry on... We would continue to find ways to invest' (Reuters, 17 September 2015, link).
  • Trevor Mann, Chief Performance Officer at Nissan has said: 'If there was a future trade agreement between the UK and EU then it wouldn't make a lot of difference' (Financial Times, 11 January 2016, link).
  • Takahiro Hachigo, Chief Executive of Honda, has said: 'Honda remains firmly committed to car production in the UK and Europe. Our production activity in the UK plays a key role for our business in terms of providing products to the European market… and beyond' (AutoExpress, 1 October 2015, link).
  • Akio Toyoda, Chief Executive of Toyota, has said: 'We want to deepen our roots to deliver ever better cars, so when that capsule is opened after 100 years, all can see we’ve built a truly British company.... I think a strong manufacturing workforce and parts supply chain are characteristic of the UK... I understand it was judging on those factors that we choose to put our first European plant in Britain' (Financial Times, 11 January 2016, link). Toyota does not even mention the EU in its corporate document giving its reasons for investing in the UK (link)
  • Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault-Nissan, has said: 'Whatever is the decision of the UK we will adapt to it. I don’t think there is a reason to worry. We knew for many years that [an exit] was possible. So we’ll deal with it' (Guardian, 21 January 2016, link).


David Cameron has previously accepted the UK could do fine outside the EU and that trade would continue.

  • Claims about a shock and decline in trade which would hit the public finances have been disputed by David Cameron: 'If we were outside the EU altogether, we’d still be trading with all these European countries, of course we would ... Of course the trading would go on … There’s a lot of scaremongering on all sides of this debate. Of course the trading would go on' (The Andrew Marr Show, 6 January 2013, link).
  • David Cameron has said: ‘I also want to debunk an argument that is sometimes put around by those who say ‘stay in Europe come what may’. Some people seem to say that really Britain couldn’t survive, couldn’t do okay outside the European Union. I don’t think that is true. Let’s be frank, Britain is an amazing country… The argument isn’t whether Britain could survive outside the EU; of course it could’ (Speech to the CBI, November 2015, link).


Economists have made serious errors before. Most supported the euro. The Bank of England supported the Exchange Rate Mechanism. This was a disaster.

  • 65% of economists backed scrapping the pound (The Economist, 15 April 1999, link).
  • In 1989, the Governor of the Bank of England, Robin Leigh-Pemberton, said that joining the ERM had ‘a number of large potential advantages' (Independent, 27 July 1989, p. 26). When asked in 1990 whether the conditions for joining had been met, Mr Leigh-Pemberton said: ‘Yes, I think so’ (Press Association, 28 March 1990).
  • The ERM caused interest rates to rise to 15%, lead to millions of households going into negative equity and unemployment reaching 2.9 million in 1993 (ONS, 16 December 2015, link).


David Cameron has claimed that leaving the EU could lead to conflict.

  • In his British Museum speech, the Prime Minister claimed that: ‘Isolationism has never served this country well. Whenever we turn our back on Europe, sooner or later we come to regret it. We have always had to go back in, and always at a much higher cost. The serried rows of white headstones in lovingly-tended Commonwealth war cemeteries stand as silent testament to the price that this country has paid to help restore peace and order in Europe. Can we be so sure that peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking? I would never be so rash as to make that assumption’ (British Museum speech, 9 May 2016, link).


The IN campaign’s previous rhetoric on immigration has been divisive.

  • David Cameron said there is ‘a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain’ (BBC News, 30 July 2015, link).
  • A Downing Street spokesman said that Home Office’s ‘go home’ advertising vans were acceptable (BBC News, 29 July 2013, link).
  • Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond described migrants as ‘marauding’ (Guardian, 10 August 2015, link).
  • Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said that we need ‘to see what we can do to prevent whole towns and communities being swamped by huge numbers of migrant workers. In some areas, particularly on the east coast, yes, towns do feel under siege from large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits. It is quite right that we look at that. The original treaty when it was drawn up 50 years ago did not envisage these vast movements of people, and we are perfectly entitled to say this needs to be looked at again. We will put our proposal forward and we will look for support from other member states as well, including Germany’ (SkyNews, 26 October 2014, link).
  • The Conservatives IN campaign has boasted of ‘the prevention of non-EU families being brought to Britain’ (Daily Express, 14 May 2016, link).
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