“On tariffs, [we’re] reducing the European Union’s 40% tariffs on food from Africa”.

George Freeman, Newsnight

July 13, 2021

Facts

Following the government’s decision to reduce its commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on foreign aid to 0.5%, Conservative MP George Freeman appeared on Newsnight to talk about the other ways in which the government supported poorer nations.

One thing he claimed was that the UK had reduced the EU’s 40% tariff on food imports from Africa. It was something he previously said in Parliament in April.

But the EU doesn’t have a 40% tariff on food from Africa.

After publication Mr Freeman acknowledged the statistic was incorrect, saying “Thanks @FullFact for the correction. The 40% figure was in the briefing I had before the interview. I won’t use again.”                                     

See the full report from FullFact.

Verdict

George Freeman’s statement was false, but the swift correction after the error was brought to his attention was exemplary. Mr Freeman has set an example for other Tory MPs and ministers, above all Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to follow.

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