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Monday, January 06, 2014

How well grounded is our Jobs and Europe theme? 

Well it is good that the party is gearing up for a pro-Europe stand in the Euro elections.

Disappointing however that Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander have been specifically mentioned in the Full Fact 'New Years resolution' pages for basing policy arguments on unsubstantiated claims.

Perhaps the longest-running 'zombie claim' we've seen is the notion that three million British jobs rely directly upon the UK's involvement in the EU. There is no research to support this, as we pointed out over two years ago when we first came across the claim, which itself dates back a decade. At best, there are three million jobs which are connected to trade with European countries, which may or may not continue to exist if Britain were to leave the EU (although even this relies upon research described as "past [its] sell-by date" by the organisation which conducted the study).
We haven't exactly been shy in pointing out this error. We've written to Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander after both Lib Dem front-benchers repeated the claim following our rebuttal. We highlighted its inaccuracy on the BBC's Today programme in August. So it was particularly disappointing to see the Deputy Prime Minister again use the figure inaccurately when he stood in for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions earlier this month.
I do hope our campaign materials will be grounded on something less easy to attack.


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