The Conservative manifesto on the single market

Published: 31st Mar 2017

In brief

Claim

The government’s EU leaflet distributed before the referendum said that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market.

Conclusion

The leaflet didn’t say outright that leaving the EU meant leaving the single market. It did contrast the advantages of “full access” to the market that the UK has as a member of the EU with the uncertainty and lack of full access that might occur if the UK voted to leave.

 

The 2015 Conservative manifesto committed the party to staying in the EU single market.

 

The manifesto does say, “We are clear about what we want from Europe. We say: yes to the Single Market.” The manifesto also promises a referendum on EU membership, although staying in the EU and leaving its single market can be two different things.

Claim 1 of 2

“‘We are clear about what we want from Europe. We say yes to the single market.’ That was the manifesto that your prime minister and you stood on in the last election… It’s in the Tory party manifesto.”

Lisa Nandy MP, 30 March 2017

“People voted to leave the European Union, they knew they were voting to leave the single market… Even in the leaflet that the government sent to every single household at the cost of £9 million to the taxpayer, it said quite clearly, leaving the European Union means leaving the single market.”

Paul Nuttall MEP, 30 March 2017

The Conservative Party manifesto for the 2015 general election did say “We are clear about what we want from Europe. We say: yes to the Single Market.”

There are other positive references to the single market in the document. For example, it says, “We benefit from the Single Market… we will not let the integration of the Eurozone jeopardise the integrity of the Single Market”.

The manifesto also promises a referendum on EU membership, although staying in the EU and leaving its single market can be two different things.

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are part of the European Economic Area, making them members of the single market. They’re not EU members, although they do accept many EU laws as part of this arrangement, including (except for Liechtenstein) those on free movement of people.

The EU referendum leaflet sent around by the government, arguing the case for staying in the EU, is less clear than the manifesto.

It doesn’t explicitly say that leaving the EU means leaving the single market. It does hint at the likelihood of reduced “access” to the single market if the UK left the EU.

For example, the document argues that “remaining inside the EU guarantees our full access to its single market. By contrast, leaving creates uncertainty and risk.”

The leaflet also states that “losing our full access to the EU’s single market would make exporting to Europe harder and increase costs.”

And it compares the UK situation post-Brexit vote to other countries outside the single market. “A more limited trade deal with the EU would give the UK less access to the single market than we have now… For example, Canada’s deal with the EU will give limited access for services, it has so far been seven years in the making and is still not in force.”

This factcheck is part of a roundup of BBC Question Time. Read the roundup.


Featured

Full Fact's factchecking toolkit

We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email team@fullfact.org.

Tweet

Share