Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is fooling nobody with his claims that he explained to the public prior to the Brexit referendum that voting to leave would mean crashing out of the union without a deal.
In an interview with Mishal Husain on the BBC’s Today programme on Monday, Raab claimed that he had discussed the possibility of a no-deal Brexit during the 2016 referendum campaign. He said: “We made clear – those in the campaign – that we should strive for a good deal but, if that wasn’t available, that we should go on and make a success of Brexit…I was questioned on it by the BBC almost every time I appeared and so was Michael Gove…There’s all sorts of interviews which said that of course we’d prefer a deal, but that there would be a risk.”
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) July 29, 2019
However, when researchers and journalists went back over his interviews during the campaign, no-one has managed to find Raab talking of the possibility of no-deal as a real possibility, with Raab just like other leading Leave figures like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove instead saying a no-deal or WTO Brexit was more “project fear”.
The closest the BBC were able to find to Raab highlighting the possibility for no-deal was in one interview after the Treasury released a report saying that a no-deal Brexit was the most damaging option for the UK economy. Raab initially dismissed the idea of no-deal, saying emphatically that “there would be a free trade agreement”, but when pressed admitted it was possible but unlikely, saying it was the “worst case scenario”.
The fact checkers at Channel 4 News and The Guardian were not able to find any further examples of Raab discussing the likelihood of the no-deal Brexit that he now claims was what the British people voted for in 2016.
Raab’s lies come as the people of Brecon and Radnorshire go to the polls in Wales in the first by-election of the Boris Johnson premiership. It will be the first opportunity for any members of the general public to show how they feel about Johnson’s decision to push the UK over out of the EU “do or die” on 31 October, despite no mandate for no-deal.