After Penny Mordaunt’s excursion across the dishonesty line on The Andy Marr Show (tm) on Sunday, one might have thought that those advocating for Britain to leave the EU would now stop and think before trying to pull another blatant whopper. But that thought would have been misplaced, especially as the Outers’ numbers includ MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, and his fleeting relationship with reality.
How much am I bid for this whopper? It's with you Mr Farage
Hannan has clearly been vexed by all those Remain advocates telling voters that countries like Norway and Switzerland have to implement significant parts of EU laws and other legislative instruments. So during yesterday’s edition of Newsnight he took to Twitter to redress the balance, asserting “Peter Sutherland just claimed that Norway and Switzerland adopt "all EU laws". Norway adopts 9 per cent, Switzerland 0 per cent”.
Given that both Norway and Switzerland have access to the EU Single Market, that’s a most interesting claim, especially the part about the latter country. Was he right, or was this another example of Hannan talking well, but lying badly? As if you need to guess. Fortunately, the question of how much EU law is adopted by both countries has been comprehensively fact checked by Full Fact, so we know the answer.
The Norwegian campaign against EU membership came up with the 9% figure, but this appears to be the percentage of the country’s laws that come from the EU, not the percentage of EU law. And it was the latter that Hannan was referencing.
Full Fact noted that a figure of 75% of all EU law had been pitched, and this would make sense: Norway does not play any part in the Common Agricultural Policy or Common Fisheries Policy, which together make up a significant part of EU legislation, but adopts pretty much everything else. Other estimates are that the country adopts 70% of all EU directives, and 28% of laws. Either way, Hannan’s 9% figure is bust.
So what about Switzerland? As Full Fact observes, that country does not enjoy the same level of access to the Single Market as Norway, and so it adopts a lower percentage of laws and directives. But the quid pro quo of any access to the Single Market is that some EU laws and directives have to be adopted, so every country with that access plays by the same rules. So the figure is a lot higher than 0%.
Full Fact concludes that “the EU has a great deal of influence over what Norway does”, and that, although Switzerland’s relationship with the EU is rather different, the latter has “also got a trading relationship through the European Free Trade Association, without being part of the European Economic Area … This also involves taking on EU laws”. Membership of EFTA is often cited approvingly by Hannan.
But that, too, means adopting some EU laws. So not only is his 0% figure for Switzerland bust, the idea that leaving the EU would mean no longer having to adopt EU laws and directives is, too. So that’s a burning trouser alert - fire extinguisher for Mr Hannan!