“I actually stand by that… there is a provision for a veto, but we could not have used it”

Penny Mordaunt, LBC Radio

July 11, 2022

Facts

LBC presenter Iain Dale put to Mordaunt that during the Brexit referendum “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 but even when the truth was pointed out to you you didn't apologize for saying something which was untrue.” Mordaunt replied that “We could not have used it 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.” 

Jean-Claude Junker, then president of the EU Commission promised ‘no further enlargement’ of the EU and the government’s 2016 fact sheet states that ‘each existing EU member state has a veto over any new country joining’.

The UK had a legally enshrined right to veto Turkish entry into the EU, and the EU was at the time pursuing a policy of non-enlargement. Turkey has not since joined the EU, despite Mordaunt claiming they would.

In an interview in 2016, David Cameron responded to similar claims Ms Mordaunt made at the time saying “She is absolutely wrong. Let me be clear, Britain and every other country in the EU has a veto on another country joining. That is a fact,” said Cameron, in an interview on ITV’s Peston on Sunday.

Verdict

Mordaunt was wrong to claim that Turkey was on the verge of joining the EU, and the UK would have no right of veto.

We approached Penny Mordaunt's office to give her a chance to comment, but received no response.

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