So today the Democracy Movement has fired off a letter to the Prime Minister to request the evidence for this statement. The letter reads:
Dear Prime Minister,
In your statement to Parliament yesterday on the outcome of last week’s meeting of the European Council, you said:
"nearly 60 per cent. of our trade is with Europe and that 3 million jobs depend on our membership of the European Union."
(Hansard, 23 Jun 2008 : Column 30)
I am writing to ask if you would please provide me with the evidence for this assertion.
Specifically, confirmation that your 60 per cent figure for trade includes all trade and not just certain limited sections of exports, and that it also in the case of goods exports takes into account the distortion in figures created by the re-shipping ports at Rotterdam and Antwerp.
And specifically, the source of your figure that 3 million jobs are dependent "on our membership of the European Union" - as distinct from jobs related to trade. Clearly it would be nonsensical to claim that the continuation of trade and the safety of related jobs is dependent on our membership of the EU, given many non-EU countries trade successfully with EU members and indeed have beneficial trade agreements with the EU as a whole.
Has the Prime Minister misled Parliament? We'll keep you posted!