Boris Johnson on leaving the EU: ‘it might or it might not’ lead to job losses

In his interview on The Andrew Marr Show today, Boris Johnson had no clear vision for what Britain’s future outside the EU looks like.

1. He admitted there ‘might’ be job losses if we leave the EU.

Andrew Marr: "Before you get to the Sunday cup lines, there would be a period of dislocation, uncertainty and job loss. You yourself have used the very clear metaphor of the Nike tick. And as we all understand these days, the Nike tick goes up in the swoosh, but it goes down first. There would be a period where people would lose their jobs."

Boris Johnson: "There might. It might or it might not" (The Andrew Marr Show, 6 March 2016).

2. He failed to clearly answer yes or no whether Britain would be a member of the free trade Single Market if we left the EU.

Andrew Marr: "One last time for clarity - just tell me are we going to be in it or not in it, and if we are not going to be in it, are we going to negotiate a similar kind of deal?"

Boris Johnson: "We are going to have our own British arrangements which will be – will give us access to the rest of the European Union, to the European Union."

AM: "Without paying any money, and without free movement?

BJ: "Well, again, if you look at free movement, it is very interesting how that has changed over the years. When I went to live on the continent, you had to go to the local town hall and present your papers and show what employment you proposed to do, you had to register and all that kind of thing." (The Andrew Marr Show, 6 March 2016).

3. He said Britain could copy Switzerland’s relationship with the EU.

Boris Johnson: "There are plenty of countries that export more per capita to the European Union than we do. Switzerland for instance is not in the European Union, they manage to get around this problem." (The Andrew Marr Show, 6 March 2016)

Switzerland’s deal with the EU:

  • Pays into the EU
  • Accepts free movement of people from the EU
  • Limited access for services firms – services account for 80% of the UK economy
  • UK financial services firms could face increased costs as they would no longer have ‘passports’ allowing them to sell to the EU market without needing extra permits
  • No say or votes over EU laws
  • Switzerland’s agreements with the EU have taken two decades to negotiate

The Leave campaign must decide whether Britain would remain in the Single Market or not. If yes, we would still have to accept free movement and pay into the EU. If not, jobs and prices would be at risk.

As German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble made clear:

"Of course there are countries within Europe that are part of the single market, but they still have to pay into the budget of the community. And they have to accept the free movement of people. So actually, they have all the disadvantages of the common market and they are not involved in the decision making process of the internal single market. I cannot really see why the UK would be interested in staying within the single market without being able to make decisions about it." (The Andrew Marr Show, 6 March 2016).