The Brexit secretary has tweeted a video about the Conservatives’ immigration policy explained via an extended footballing metaphor that manages to be wildly inaccurate on both immigration and football.
Do we want more players in the @PremierLeague from Brazil, Argentina or Africa compared to the EU? Or more English qualified players to strengthen the national team @FA? What would you rather see? The key opportunity of Brexit is that we will get to decide ?? pic.twitter.com/QSJ6jwjfpY— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 14, 2019
Setting a relaxed tone in a russet pullover, Steve Barclay started his video with a friendly jab at high-profile Remainer Gary Lineker.
“People don’t always put football and our new Brexit deal together, unless it’s Gary Lineker going on about Remain again,” he said, by way of a joke.
He continued: “But one of the things about taking control of our immigration is we can decide, do we want more English qualified players in the Premier League, which is something the FA are keen to see. Or do we want to have more talented players from Brazil, Africa, Argentina and elsewhere in the world, as the Premier League are keen to see.”
As people were quick to point out, the UK currently chooses not to use the immigration control measures allowed as part of EU membership, and has full control over non-EU immigration policy.
.@SteveBarclay you know very well that the UK has full control over non-EU immigration policy. Any limits on players from Brazil, Argentina and Africa are set by us.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 15, 2019
You are the Secretary of State for Brexit. Shame on you for such a facile and bare-faced lie. https://t.co/OiEVPmMddZ
Barclay continued: “So we’ll actually have much more say as to where we recruit players from.
“Do it on talent, rather than it being because they’re in Europe as opposed to the rest of the world, and as a result, we can look at having more English qualified players for the England team, but also look at the best players from Brazil, Argentina, Africa and elsewhere and ensure we’re getting the best players into the Premier League.”
Informed people were also quick to point out that the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and a group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states has removed earlier restrictions on the number of players from most countries in those regions in UK teams under EU laws.
Football journalist Layth Yousif tweeted that Barclay was talking “utter nonsense”, adding: “UK immigration law restricts footballers joining from non-EU countries. Nothing to do with Brexit or EU laws.
“Seeing as you’re a Tory why don’t you stick to what you know: Such as closing hospitals and blaming the working class for being burned alive.”
EU law professor Steve Peers said: “Divisive, misleading nonsense from the Brexit Secretary. EU law does not affect the number of non-EU players in football clubs in the UK.”
Twitter user @mrsbiltawulf said: “I’ve watched this three times now. I have to conclude that Steve Barclay is still a fucking idiot.”