• “Most of our laws come from Brussels”

      Not true. The independent House of Commons library found that the real proportion is just 13.2% of our laws. And these figures include everything that even mentions the EU, even if it’s just a “passing reference” or a definition, according to the researchers!

    • “European laws are made by unelected bureaucrats”

      Not true. The European Commission doesn’t make laws. It only makes proposals, which are then debated, amended and passed (or rejected) by elected national governments and directly elected MEPs. In any case, Commissioners themselves are accountable to the European Parliament, which elects its president, approves its appointment and can dismiss it.

    • “The EU forces its will on member countries”

      Not true. Firstly, we don’t decide anything at EU level unless all member countries have explicitly agreed by treaty to do so — and even then, the actual legislation needs an overwhelming majority of national governments in the EU Council to approve it. For sensitive matters like tax and foreign affairs, all countries need to agree. As even a minister in our current UK eurosceptic government admits, “It is very hard to find an EU regulation of significance that has been forced on an unwilling British minister who voted against it”!

    • “Europe is run by a sprawling bureaucracy”

      Not true. The European Commission has fewer employees than Leeds city council.

    • “Our most important markets are China and the US, not the EU”

      Not true. The EU is the world’s largest single market. Fully half of Britain’s exports go there (amounting to some 3.5 million British jobs). Britain sells more to Holland alone than to the whole of China.

    • “Britons lose out because of EU migration”

      Not true. In fact, British people are the EU’s biggest beneficiaries of the right to settle anywhere in the EU: more British people live in other EU countries than any other nationality! There are as many Brits living elsewhere in the EU as there are other EU nationals in Britain.

    • “EU migrants are a drain on our resources”

      Not true. Firstly, most migrants in Britain are from outside the EU. Secondly, those that come here from our European neighbours pay far more in tax than they take in services and benefits. Most EU citizens living in the UK are young and contribute to our economy, having been educated and trained recently at the expense of their own country’s taxpayers. They have no right to jump the queue for benefits of any kind, and they can only come to Britain to work or if they’re self-sufficient.

    • “The European Parliament is a rubber-stamp parliament”

      Not true. In fact, the European Parliament is much better than national parliaments at saying ‘no’ to controversial proposals. Of the proposals that it accepts, very few go through without significant amendment. In this way, the European Parliament is much more effective than national parliaments such as Westminster, as there’s no compliant government majority to ensure that proposals are whipped through.

    • “British businesses are drowning in EU red tape”

      Not true. After all, most EU legislation actually cuts red tape by replacing 28 divergent sets of national rules with a single set of pan-European common rules for the common market. This saves businesses from duplication and compliance costs. Just one example: it’s now possible to register a trademark once, valid across 28 countries, instead of having to do 28 different sets of form-filling, registering, troubleshooting and fee-paying. Moreover, as the Federation of Small Businesses argued recently, EU-wide rules actually protect British businesses from competitors abroad who might undercut our high standards if they could.

    • “The European Court of Human Rights is forcing us to –“

      The European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU. It’s an entirely separate institution, with separate membership, set up by Britain after World War II.

    • “No-one under 55 has ever had a say on belonging to the EU”

      Not true. If the only way to have a say on an issue is to have a national referendum on it, then none of us have had a say on anything much! We’ve never had national referendums on joining NATO, WTO, the UN or any international structure, nor on any domestic policy issue. Why? Because we have a parliamentary system providing for detailed scrutiny by our elected representatives. Such questions are rarely a simple yes/no, but to do with terms and conditions which are constantly renegotiated and change. The main political parties have always had different views on the EU since we joined and this has featured in general election campaigns, just as other issues do. We also have specific elections on Europe every 5 years when we elect our MEPs!

    • “We were told we were only joining a free trade zone”

      Not true. We actually left a free trade zone (EFTA) to join the EU, specifically because we felt free trade was not enough. The Wilson government, setting out its reasons for applying in 1967, stressed that “Europe is now faced with the opportunity of a great move forward in political unity and that we can — and indeed we must — play our full part in it”.

    • “Switzerland and Norway survive perfectly well outside the EU”

      Be careful what you wish for! Switzerland and Norway are both small countries with specialised ‘niche’ economies: Switzerland with its often-criticised banking system, and Norway with its massive oil reserves. But their industries have to follow EU rules as that’s their main market. As non-members, they have no say over the adoption of those EU rules. They cannot defend their interests. They have, effectively, lost sovereignty through their isolation. Nor does staying out save money -– the Norwegian contribution per capita to the European budget is about the same as that of the UK! For the Norwegians, being non-members, it is taxation without representation.

    • “The British are simply different”

      Yes, and so is every other country! All have their different languages, cultures, histories and laws. No-one joins the EU in order to lose their identity. The EU contains no majority language group or culture; we’re all minorities. In fact, the EU’s motto is ‘United in Diversity’. It was Margaret Thatcher who said that being in Europe hadn’t made the French any less French and on this she was right -– being in Europe hasn’t made us any less British either!