During the 2016 Brexit referendum, Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt – who was then Armed Forces minister – made the misleading claim that Britain would not be able to stop Turkey from joining the EU – and potentially start coming into Britain in the wake of the 2015 migrant crisis. In an interview with Andrew Marr show, she also falsely claimed Turkey joining the EU was “very likely” though accession talks have failed since 2016. LBC’s Iain Dale put the candidate on the spot over her false claims.
Mr Dale began by asking: “In the Brexit referendum, and a lot of people have been contacting me and when they want me to ask this question, you said that Turkey was about to join the EU and that we would have no veto over that, leading possibly to 75 million Turks coming into the EU.
“Now that was not true and even when the truth was pointed out to you, you didn’t apologise for saying something that was untrue,” Mr Dale added.
Ms Mordaunt defended: “I actually stand by that. Well, the short answer is the British public didn’t have a say.
“The longer answer is it was government policy.”
Iain Dale pushed back: “It wasn’t true to say that we didn’t have a veto. We did.”
Ms Mordaunt then said: “There is a provision for a veto, but we could not have used it.”
Iain Dale asked: “Why?”
Ms Mordaunt hit back: “Because David Cameron gave an undertaking that he would support their accession. And having given that undertaking to a NATO country, he would not have been able to walk away.”
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