Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”So I’m already in the process of delivering one, and that’s freeports”

Rishi Sunak, Conservative Leadership Candidate, LBC

Facts

When asked to describe a concrete benefit of Brexit, Sunak claimed freeports were an example. This is misleading.

Freeports can be created under EU rules. The UK, as a member of the EU, had freeports between 1984-2012. Across the EU, there are around 80 freeports. EU rules do not stop member states from creating freeports, and it is wrong to suggest otherwise.

However, Sunak is correct in claiming that freeports can be pursued in a less restrictive way after Brexit. This is as the EU places limitations, including on tax levels, at freeports. The UN described EU freeports as existing in a ‘narrow’ sense. These EU rules do not have to be pursued after Brexit.

Verdict

Rishi Sunak was wrong to suggest that the EU did not allow the UK to create freeports. EU members were allowed to create freeports, and the UK had freeports for nearly four decades. However, Sunak is correct in the sense that that Brexit will allow the UK to pursue freeports on a less restrictive basis.

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office, the Cabinet Office and the No 10 Press Office offering them the chance to respond. The email was received by his office, but no reply. 

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