Rishi Sunak cites misinformation as he attempts to woo Brexiteers

Brandishing his Brexiteer credentials, the former chancellor pledges to review all the ‘2,400 EU laws’ ‘getting in the way’ of British businesses to trigger a ‘new Big Bang.’

A photo of Rishi Sunak leaving Downing Street

Writing for The Telegraph on how to capitalise on the ‘freedoms Brexit gave us’, the former chancellor says it’s time to “capitalise on the freedoms” Brexit gave Britain, and “put our foot on the accelerator.”

“As prime minister, I would task a new Brexit delivery department with reviewing all of the remaining 2,400 laws on our statute book – with the first set of recommendations as to whether each law should be scrapped or reformed being published within my first 100 days in the job,” writes Sunak.

However, the government’s own figures show hundreds of EU laws have already been repealed, replaced or amended, and the 2,400 figure is not accurate.

Some digging by Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking organisation which campaigns for the truth, shows Sunak’s claims are not entirely correct, and the figures cited are inaccurate.

“Mr Sunak’s article fails to state that hundreds of the EU laws he described have already been amended, repealed or replaced,” writes Full Fact.

Pointing readers to the government’s ‘Retained EU Law – Public Dashboard’, the fact checkers note how there are 2,417 items of retained EU law.

Retained EU law

Retained EU law (REUL) is a type of domestic law that was created at the end of the UK’s transition period with the EU on December 31, 2021. According to the government website, it is made up of certain pieces of EU legislation that were ‘cut and pasted’ onto the UK statute book.

Of the 2,417 of retained EU law, 182 are marked on the government dashboard as having been amended. 196 items have been repealed. An additional 33 items of retained EU law are marked as having been replaced, meaning they have been repealed and replaced by new legislation.

2,006 items of EU legislation are therefore unchanged and retained in the UK statute book – significantly less than Sunak’s 2,400.

In the same article, the Tory leadership candidate speaks of how he would task a Brexit minister and new Brexit Delivery Department with reviewing all ‘2,400 EU laws’ transferred over to the UK statute book after the UK’s exist from the bloc.

In scrapping the EU financial services regulations “we have inherited”, Sunak plans to “trigger a Big Bang 2.0.” The former chancellor says his government would also “remove the burdens of GDPR” and the “EU’s Byzantine rules” that are “preventing British tech companies from innovating.”

A separate article in The Telegraph speaks of how Sunak’s vows to ditch EU laws and promise to trigger ‘Big Bang 2.0’,  is designed to “woo pro-Brexit MPs and Tory members.”

As it was in Boris Johnson’s pursuit to become Tory party leader, Brexit has become a critical issue between the two remaining candidates in the race to No 10.

Sunak turns the heat on Truss for backing Remain

Rishi Sunak has not held back in moving to burnish his Brexiteer credentials. Boasting he is a ‘real Brexiteer’ for backing Leave in the 2016 referendum, Sunak has turned the heat on Liz Truss for backing Remain. A campaign video posted on Twitter shows how he campaigned ‘relentlessly’ to cut ties with Brussels, while displaying an image of Truss campaigning for Remain.

Desperate to shake off her Remain-supporting past, Truss has brandished herself as a passionate, hard-line Brexiteer, insisting she was wrong to vote Remain. Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the foreign secretary claims she has “shown she can get things done.”

“Whether it’s sorting out the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol to make sure we deliver the full opportunities of Brexit, I can get stuff done,” she said, while claiming that Brexit has been a success.

The foreign secretary makes such claims despite her failure to reach a deal with Brussels after months of negotiations and the row between the EU and the UK over the Northern Ireland protocol remains unresolved.

With Rishi Sunak promising to scrap an exaggerated number of EU law and regulations and pledging a ‘Big Bang 2.0’ to overhaul the remaining EU financial services regulations, and Liz Truss citing shambolic Brexit negotiations with the EU as proof she ‘gets things done’, it seems the two remaining Tory leadership hopefuls will stop at nothing in the battle to win crucial votes from Brexiteers.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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