Catherine Bearder, LibDem MEP for the South East Region, was only just re-elected by a very narrow margin in the European Union election in May this year. The LibDem vote had dropped dramatically and it was plain that Bearder was prepared to try anything to hang on to her lucrative post.
She circulated a glossy full-colour election leaflet with the headline "Would you gamble with 3 million jobs?" It claimed she was "Delivering jobs across the South-East" and on the back there was a form inviting you to fill it in and "Join Catherine Bearder's campaign to protect 3 million British jobs today!"
Where exactly did she get this figure of 3 million jobs supposedly created by our EU membership and bound to disappear overnight if we reclaimed our independence?
I wrote to Ms Bearder asking her to substantiate her claim and indicate precisely what those 3 million jobs were and why they would vanish overnight if we left. She did not reply.
Shortly after the election, her fellow-LibDem, Danny Alexander, stood up in the House of Commons and made the same claim.
Liar Danny Alexander.
He claimed that 3 million jobs in the UK depended on our EU membership and attributed this to "The latest Treasury figures" adding "That is the measure of the risk that isolationists would have us take".
However, this speech prompted Nigel Lawson, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, to send a request via the Clerk of the House of Lords, to be told what these Treasury figures were based on and when they had been issued. He repeated it several times but got no answer.
Then, in June, the Open Europe Think Tank went to the length of submitting a Freedom of Information request to the Treasury, demanding to know exactly what the basis was for Mr Alexander's claim. It took them two months to respond, and eventually they admitted that the Treasury had not issued any such statement. The nearest thing to it that they could find was an "assessment" done in 2003, eleven years ago, that said that 3 million people worked in jobs that involved trade with other EU member states. That of course is a very different thing from being dependent on EU membership.
The EU member states would not all stop trading with us overnight if we left the EU. They do plenty of business with Switzerland, Norway and the USA, none of which are members. The EU has free trade agreements with dozens of different countries around the globe. And this "3 million jobs" fallacy has now been pointed out by none other than Dominic Lawson, Nigel's son, former editor of the Spectator and the Sunday Telegraph.
Bearder used her lies to get re-elected, by the skin of her teeth, and a few weeks later, she was voted by other MEPs into the position of Quaestor in the parliament. Her website announced, "Catherine has said she will use the position to increase transparency in the European parliament, making more information available to MEPs and to the people they represent." If this "information" is as blatantly fictitious as Bearder's claims in her election manifesto, then she will be keeping up a great LibDem tradition.
CI News: 24 February 2017
3 hours ago