Dominic Raab claimed that the Leave campaign made clear during the 2016 referendum that there was a possibility of leaving with no deal.
Pressed on this point on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, he said “we made clear, those on 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, and so it was discussed.”
However, the reality is that neither the official Vote Leave campaign or any of its prominent spokespeople – including Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab – promised anything other than a deal with Europe and a continuation of free trade. Now that almost every key Vote Leave figure, including the director of that campaign, Dominic Cummings, has been recruited to a government preparing to leave the EU with no deal, it is worth remembering the kind of deal they and other Leave campaigners promised in 2016.
Here is a reminder with links to the sources – as collated by the People’s Vote campaign.
The official Vote Leave campaign promised we would negotiate a new deal before we even left the European Union.
“We will negotiate the terms of a new deal before we start any legal process to leave.”
“We negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation.”
“The referendum will be followed by negotiations with the other 27 EU member states, following which the UK will strike a new deal with the EU based on free trade and friendly cooperation.”
Boris Johnson said, “there is no plan for no deal because we are going to get a great deal.”
“There is no plan for no deal because we are going to get a great deal.”
Boris Johnson promised a “free trade arrangement that continued to give access to UK goods and services”, saying “it doesn’t seem to me it would be very hard to strike a free trade deal very rapidly indeed.”
“It doesn’t seem to me it would be very hard to strike, to do a free trade deal very rapidly indeed. I don’t think it would be necessary to invoke Article 50 immediately, I don’t see why that would be the case. The US-Australia deal that I just mentioned for instance took only two years.
“My view is that we should get out from under that system and have a free trade arrangement that continued to give access to UK goods and services on the European continent.”
Boris Johnson suggested that “other EU countries would rapidly do a free trade deal”.
“They are desperate to get out of the EU, and they are right. They believe the other EU countries would rapidly do a free trade deal, and an unshackled British business sector would probably export more to the rest of Europe than it does today.”
Boris Johnson predicted “a new relationship [would be] rapidly forged based on free trade”.
“To no one’s very great surprise, Project Fear turned out to be a giant hoax. The markets were calm. The pound did not collapse. The British government immediately launched a highly effective and popular campaign across the Continent to explain that this was not a rejection of “Europe”, only of the supranational EU institutions; and a new relationship was rapidly forged based on free trade and with traditional British leadership on foreign policy, crime-fighting, intelligence-sharing and other intergovernmental cooperation.”
Boris Johnson said leaving would mean we “seek a new relationship” with the EU.
“There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says no… It is time to seek a new relationship, in which we manage to extricate ourselves from most of the supranational elements.”
Dominic Raab said “mutual self-interest suggests we’d cut a very good deal.”
“Mutual self-interest suggests we’d cut a very good deal.”
Dominic Raab said, “the idea that Britain would be apocalyptically off the cliff edge if we left the EU is silly.”
“The idea that Britain would be apocalyptically off the cliff edge if we left the EU is silly.”
Dominic Raab said we would “of course” retain a strong trading relationship with Europe and would likely get “a bespoke deal”.
“If those are two reasons for believing greater rewards lie outside the EU, a third suggests the risks have been exaggerated. Of course, we would retain a strong trading relationship with the EU… There are various models on offer – Swiss, Norwegian, Turkish – but since our economy is bigger than all of those combined, it’s reasonable to expect we would negotiate a bespoke British deal.”
Vote Leave’s director, Dominic Cummings, promised a “new deal” with the EU.
“There is a clear way in which we come to a new deal: we repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and the supremacy of EU law, we negotiate a free trade deal with the EU (which is in all of our interests), we also have sensible laws on the free movement of people.”
Dominic Cummings promised “we would have a free trade deal on goods.”
“We’re agreeing that we would have a free trade deal on goods – done.”
Cummings also promised we would negotiate a deal before leaving, saying “it’s a process, we’re talking about a new relationship… it’s going to be a gradual thing.”
“I think almost inevitably the overall phases will be: we win on the 23rd; people take a deep breath; we’ll have to create a new government team to go do the negotiations (we couldn’t send off the likes of Philip Hammond and whatnot who’ve just failed so spectacularly again) so the Prime Minister will have to assemble a new team of people; there will then be informal negotiations on an intergovernmental level, and with the European Union institutions; I think then once you’ve got the overall picture of what you want to do, you would then say right, how do we solve the legalities. And only after that do you actually get into: right here’s how we use Article 50, if we use Article 50 at all; here’s what the timescale would be; here’s the timescale for when we repeal the 1972 European Communities Act; probably incorporate all existing European Union law into domestic law; and then begin a process of sorting it out. I think roughly speaking that kind of framework, most people would agree is a sensible way forward.”
“Really it’s a process, we’re talking about a new relationship… it’s going to be a gradual thing.”
Dominic Cummings endorsed another plan that would mean “using the EEA as a transition phase … while a better deal, inevitably taking years, is negotiated.”
“An interesting attempt at such a plan is FLEXCIT based on using the EEA as a transition phase – remaining in the Single Market and retaining a (modified) version of free movement – while a better deal, inevitably taking years, is negotiated.”
Michael Gove said, “we can easily conclude a new settlement with the EU” within four years.
“I think that we have four years, more or less, between now and the date of the next election and I think we can easily conclude a new settlement with the European Union in that period.”
Michael Gove said, “if the British people want to vote for a deal which you describe as all the advantages and none of the pay-outs, that would be a great thing”.
“Well, I think if the British people want to vote for a deal which you describe as all the advantages and none of the pay-outs, that would be a great thing on June 23rd.”
Theresa Villiers said, “I’m sure we’ll get a great deal from the European Union and carry on doing business with them in just the way we do now.”
“I’m sure we’ll get a great deal from the European Union and carry on doing business with them in just the way we do now.”
Theresa Villiers said that “negotiations will go well … it’s in their interests to make sure we retain a strong trading relationship, a free trade deal.”
“Absolutely he [David Cameron] should be the one that leads our negotiations on the Brexit deal. I think those negotiations will go well, the reality is that the EU sells far more to us than we do to them, it’s in their interests to make sure we retain a strong trading relationship, a free trade deal.”
Andrea Leadsom said, “the UK will have a UK solution” and “it would be a very easy thing to negotiate comprehensive free trade.”
“We would have a British option. We would immediately go from being a member of the EU to being the EU’s biggest trading partner. It would be absolutely in their interests and our interests, and let’s not forget, we’ve been aligning our rules with theirs for 43 years. It would be a very easy thing to negotiate comprehensive free trade.”
Andrea Leadsom said “negotiating a free trade agreement will be as easy as we want it to be.”
“We’ve spent 43 years aligning our goods and services with them. So negotiating a free trade agreement will be as easy as we want it to be.”
Liam Fox said the EU has legal obligations to “enter into a negotiation” and “[offer] us a trade agreement.”
“Legally, under the Lisbon Treaty, if we leave the European Union, the European Union is required by law to enter into a negotiation with us about extricating ourselves, including offering us a trade agreement. So, it is already written in to the Lisbon Treaty that should we decide to go they have obligations. We are not like Switzerland, a country already outside, we’re already inside the Single Market, they have obligations to us not to impose trade tariffs or barriers that don’t already exist.”
Liam Fox promised a “new relationship … based on an economic partnership involving a customs union and a single market in goods and services.”
“What should be done? I believe that the best way forward is for Britain to renegotiate a new relationship with the European Union – one based on an economic partnership involving a customs union and a single market in goods and services.”
Steve Baker promised “the negotiation of a broad, deep permanent free-trade agreement with the EU”.
“The Brexit vote has created an “unfrozen moment”, where the UK can catalyse a new period of global growth. The Legatum Institute’s Special Trade Commission shows us how: the negotiation of a broad, deep permanent free-trade agreement with the EU; the initiation of a “prosperity zone” with a group of like-minded countries that believe in open trade, competition on merit and property rights protection; and new economic partnership agreements with Commonwealth, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to open channels to their agricultural exports.”
Steve Baker also promised “a unique, reciprocal UK-EU arrangement of open trade”.
“We will seek a unique, reciprocal UK-EU arrangement of open trade in goods and services and co-operation on other matters, like counter-terrorism. That was the Prime Minister’s message on 2 October. The only constructive choice is to help make it happen.”
Daniel Hannan said that we can “take for granted” that we will be “part of a free trade area” with the EU after Brexit.
“The one thing that they all have in common is that they are part of a free trade area, and that’s the one thing I think we can take for granted.”
Daniel Hannan called Norway “a handy example” of a free-trade relationship with the EU.
“Norway, a handy example of how a country can prosper by having a free-trade relationship with the EU instead of joining the Brussels political institutions”
Daniel Hannan also said we should “aim for a Swiss model”.
“Our objective, when we leave the EU, should be to aim for a Swiss model, based on bilateral accords, rather than membership of the EEA”
“What a great model for Britain. If 7 million Swiss relying on bilateral free trade agreements can give their people the highest standard of living on the continent, how much more so could we.”
Leave.EU promised that “a replacement UK-EU trade deal is a cert.”
“A replacement UK-EU trade deal is a cert. […] That means British negotiators will be able to a secure free trade deal with Brussels. This is the only part of the current EU set-up that actually works, and it will not change.”
Leave.EU’s CEO said we would already have a replacement UK-EU trade deal by the time we leave.
“A replacement UK EU trade deal will be put in place to ensure the status-quo remains as it is.”
Nigel Farage said “we’ll find ourselves part of the [EEA] and with a free trade deal.”
“On the plus one we’ll find ourselves part of the European Economic Area and with a free trade deal.”
On another occasions, Nigel Farage promised “a simple free trade agreement with the European Union” and compared post-Brexit Britain to “Norway, Iceland and Switzerland”.
“I want us to have a simple free trade agreement with the European Union… They sell us 50 billion pounds worth of goods every year more than we sell them. If Norway, Iceland and Switzerland can get deals that suit them, we can do something far, far better than that.”
“European countries outside the EU like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are currently thriving because they are not encumbered by Euro bailout costs, and extortionate EU membership fees. They are confident nations grasping the opportunities that a global perspective presents.”
Richard Tice said “there is a legal obligation on the European Union, after we exit, to organise and to negotiate and to sign a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.”
“There is a legal obligation on the European Union, after we exit, to organise and to negotiate and to sign a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom. […] But I think when people understand that there is a legal obligation on the European Union to negotiate a trade agreement with us, they’ll say actually, you know, it’s probably the status quo, it will be broadly the same.”
Richard Tice said “we will negotiate our own special agreement”.
“The reality is we will negotiate our own special agreement.”
Richard Tice said “let’s be clear, Article 50 starts the process.”
“Let’s be clear, Article 50 starts the process.”
Richard Tice said, “let’s be clear, with our relationship with the European Union, nothing changes until we sign a new agreement.”
“Let’s be clear, with our relationship with the European Union, nothing changes until we sign a new agreement.”
Richard Tice said, “it’s in everybody’s vested interests to negotiate an agreement” and “to do it quickly.”
“It’s in everybody’s vested interests to negotiate an agreement, and it’s in everybody’s vested interests, from all countries, to do it quickly.”
Richard Tice said “the Norwegian Option, the Swiss Option, the Canadian Option – all these suggested outcomes would be preferable to remaining inside the EU.”
“I co-authored a review of the four most likely Brexit scenarios to identify the optimal business case in “A Global Britain”. The Norwegian Option, the Swiss Option, the Canadian Option – all these suggested outcomes would be preferable to remaining inside the EU.”
Richard Tice also promoted South Korea’s free trade agreement with the EU.
“South Korea signed a free trade agreement with the EU which brought import tariffs for both markets down to 0% for almost 99% of goods, it also includes extensive provisions for the recognition of each other’s standards, removing non-tariff barriers for both goods and services.”
Arron Banks said, “of course you would do a better deal.”
“I said in a worst case based scenario it wouldn’t be bad, but of course you would do a better deal.”
Arron Banks said a non-tariff trade agreement with Europe “will emerge extremely rapidly.”
MG: So what your site is saying is that you’re going to have a non-tariff trade agreement with Europe?
AB: Yes, I think that will emerge extremely rapidly.
Arron Banks called trading on WTO terms with tariffs “unlikely”.
“In the unlikely event of a tariff situation.”
Arron Banks said, “they send £70 billion more of their goods to us than we do to them, we have a fabulous position to make deals with people.”
“They send £70 billion more of their goods to us than we do to them, we have a fabulous position to make deals with people.”
Arron Banks said “I think everyone seems to be viewing this as an event, which I think it isn’t, it’s a process.”
“I think everyone seems to be viewing this as an event, which I think it isn’t, it’s a process.”
Arron Banks has tweeted that “increasingly the Norway options looks the best for the UK.”
“Increasingly the Norway option looks the best for the UK.”
“I think we need a vision of Brexcit and Norway best matches that, it’s a pragmatic step.”
Arron Banks described the work of Dr Richard North as “a truthful vision of how a Brexit will look.”
Leave.EU co-founder Arron Banks added that he had ‘enjoyed some very colourful discussions over the last few months with Richard, and I believe his work has laid the foundations for a plan we can present public as a realistic and truthful vision of how a Brexit will look.’
Dr Richard North wrote Flexcit, a Brexit plan that said “it is unrealistic to expect a clean break” and proposed “rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and trading with the remaining EU member states through the European Economic Area (EEA).”
“But we believe it is unrealistic to expect a clean break, immediately unravelling forty years of integration in a single step. Following a vote in a referendum and an Article 50 notification, therefore, we have set out a process of staged separation and recovery. In the first stage, there are three possible ways of securing an exit. One is by rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and trading with the remaining EU member states through the European Economic Area (EEA) – the so-called Norway Option.”
Other Conservative Leave campaigners
Jacob Rees-Mogg said “crucially there is Article 50 … the whole purpose of it was to avoid an economic shock for both sides if somebody left.”
“And I also want to come to your main point and that is on how we trade in future. Crucially there is Article 50 on the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union which sets out how we leave and the terms we would get. And there’s a very good report by the House of Lords committee that looks into this saying they’ve looked back at how this article came into the treaties, and the whole purpose of it was to avoid an economic shock for both sides if somebody left.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, BBC, 2016
Jacob Rees-Mogg promised “a very straight forward two-year process for extracting ourselves”.
But they are our friends, or so the government will have us believe, and article 50 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union provides for a very straightforward two-year process for extracting ourselves, which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said he will exercise if Brexit is successful.
Jacob Rees-Mogg even suggested a “second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”
“The other two points that do not add up to much were, first, that a three-way referendum is confusing. However, that is not a problem because the motion calls for a Bill in the next Session, which can deal with any confusion. We can, in our wisdom, work out how to phrase a referendum—or series of referendums, if necessary —that will be understandable. […] I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me an extra minute—it is kind of Gloucestershire to give something to Somerset for once. That issue can be dealt with in the legislation. Indeed, we could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”
Owen Paterson said “the only realistic option … is to stay within the EEA agreement.”
“This brings us to the only realistic option, which is to stay within the EEA agreement. The EEA is tailor made for this purpose and can be adopted by joining EFTA first. This becomes the ‘Norway option'”
Owen Paterson said “they will do a deal” and said the idea that “we’re going to leave with a big black terrifying hole is really for the birds.”
“They will do a deal. We are the fifth largest economy in the world, they have a selfish and strategic in trading with us, and that will carry on. And all this scare stuff, ‘we’re going to leave with a big black terrifying hole’, is really for the birds. They want to work with us.”
Owen Paterson said “we’re gonna do a deal, and we will do a deal that suits Northern Ireland”.
“We’re gonna do a deal, and we will do a deal that suits Northern Ireland and suits the Republic. So things like the Common Travel Area are absolutely fundamental to keep going, things like the border, free passage of goods, which both houses of the Dáil came up with, said is fundamental. We will come up with a UK solution, and part of that will be keeping the very, very satisfactory and extraordinarily integrated arrangements we have with the Republic of Ireland.”
David Davis said “we have a fantastic free trading future ahead of us outside the European Union … and yes, one of those free trade deals will be with Europe.”
“Make no bones about it – we have a fantastic free trading future ahead of us outside the European Union. We can strike free trade deals in a year or two which it takes the European Union decades to get to. […] And yes, one of those free trade deals will be with Europe.”
David Davis said “it’s pretty clear that the end game would be a free market arrangement such as they have just struck with Canada.”
“We would not lose anything in terms of our access to European markets… it’s pretty clear that the end game would be a free market arrangement such as they have just struck with Canada.”
David Davis said “access to the European market will be maintained.”
“Those of us on my side of the argument are quite clear in our minds: the access to the European market will be maintained.”
David Davis promised a Swiss or Canadian style free trade agreement.
“The negotiation between the EU and Switzerland in the 1990s was marked by some hostility after it rejected EU membership, and yet it struck a decent deal. The optimum aim for us would be similar, but without the free movement of peoples. That would not be on the table. Essentially we would be looking for a full scale free trade agreement. And it has just been done by another country. If you want a model of how this would look, go on the European Commission website and look at the Canadian Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that the EU has just struck.”
Jeremy Hunt said we would negotiate a deal before leaving, then “put it to the British people, either in a referendum or through the Conservative manifesto”.
“So what is the best way to secure such a deal? Firstly we must not invoke Article 50 straight away because that puts a time limit of two years on negotiations after which we could be thrown out with no deal at all. So before setting the clock ticking, we need to negotiate a deal and put it to the British people, either in a referendum or through the Conservative manifesto at a fresh general election.”
Jeremy Hunt proposed a referendum on a deal on at least two other occasions.
“I don’t think there (necessarily) needs to be another referendum but I think there needs to be some kind of democratic endorsement. We’ve had nine general elections since we joined the EU and this is such a big thing that I think the terms under which we leave the EU also need to be put to the British people.”
“I do think that people should have a chance to have their say on those terms, and it could be a referendum.”
After the referendum, Jeremy Hunt said “we must remain part of the single market”.
“We must remain part of the single market, because thousands of people work for companies which are international companies who’ve invested in the UK.”
Liz Truss said “what we’re going to do is get a good deal.”
“There is uncertainty and that is why we’re seeking to get a good deal as soon as possible. What we’re going to do is get a good deal.”
Other Labour Leave campaigners
Kate Hoey has previously tweeted in support for “the Norway model”.
“The Norway model? Trade union leader insists country is freer and richer OUTSIDE the EU”
John Mills, chair of Labour Leave, said that we would “get out of the Single Market and negotiate a free trade deal”.
“‘We need to get out of the Single Market and negotiate a free trade deal’ – my comments”
“Far better would be a free trade deal, with the UK still outside the single market.”