Oh dear. Today James McGrory of Open Britain appeared on Sunday Politics to explain why exactly the group are campaigning for Britain to remain a member of the single market when we leave the EU. As part of their efforts, the think tank has circulated a video which appears to show many Leave campaigners advocating staying in the single market.
However when asked about this video, McGrory got more than he had bargained for. Andrew Neil proceeded to take him to task for apparent inaccuracies and half-truths in the clips. To begin, he asked why not one of the statements Open Britain chose to use in the video was said by Leave campaigners in the referendum campaign:
AN: How many of these 12 statements were made during the referendum campaign?
JM: I don’t know but some of Dan Hannan’s were
AN: Well actually not one was made during the referendum campaign and indeed only two of the 12 statements were recorded after royal assent had been given to the referendum. Only one was made this year before the referendum.
JM: Throughout the campaign, Leave campaigners lauded the Norwegian model and as you know Norway is in the single market but not in the EU. The Leave campaign went out of their way not to be pinned down on a specific trading arrangement they wanted to see in the future with Europe.
AN: But isn’t it interesting and does it not undermine your case that none of the 12 statements were made during the campaign itself when people were giving really serious thought to such matters?
Things didn’t get much better for McGrory when Neil proceeded to play in full several video clips that feature in the video:
AN: You misrepresented Owen Paterson, didn’t you? You showed him saying ‘only a madman would leave the single market’ then stopped it there because he goes on to say that of course we won’t leave in the sense of continuing to have access.
JM: I don’t think he was talking about access. He’s there talking about membership.
AN: He doesn’t use the word membership at all.
Neil suggested that Open Britain had also cut clips from Nigel Farage and Vote Leave’s Matthew Elliott in a misleading manner:
AN: How did you think you would get away with this distortion?
JM: The whole point of the clip — or the clips — is to point out they don’t have a definitive position.
However, given that McGrory is the former chief spokesman of Britain Stronger in Europe, Mr S suspects it’s highly likely he would have been made aware in the course of the referendum campaign exactly what the definitive positions of individual Leave campaigners were.