His critics on twitter flocked to declare Boris Johnson’s remarks on free movement another gaffe. In an interview with a Czech daily newspaper, Boris dismissed as “a total myth” the idea that free movement was one of the EU’s founding principles. Guy Verhofstadt gloated on twitter that Boris had dropped a clanger. He tweeted: “Can’t wait to negotiate with Boris Johnson, so that I can read him Article 3 of the Treaty of Rome”, in reference to its longstanding commitment to freedom of movement. “
On Tuesday BBC Newsnight, always keen to denigrate any Brexiteer, sneered that Boris was mistaken about his history, claiming that the free movement of people was enshrined in the 1957 Treaty of Rome, the agreement that formally established the Common Market.
But political writer Leo McKinstry has blown to smithereens Verhofstadt’s claim that the principle of free movement was enshrined in the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
McKinstry says “But Boris was absolutely right. It is his detractors who are deluded. The relevant clauses in the 1957 Treaty of Rome do not refer to free movement of people. On the contrary they only cover free movement of “workers”. The limited nature of this legislation is emphasised in a recent research paper by the House of Commons which states: “The free movement rights set out in the Treaty of Rome were confined to persons who exercised economic activity.”
He continues: “The signatories of the treaty never envisaged a situation where vast armies of foreigners would be able to settle in the more affluent member states such as Britain, without job offers but with full rights of residence and access to welfare.
The modest provisions of the Treaty of Rome have been turned by the modern Europhiles into an unrestrained licence for abuse and injustice, where British taxpayers have to subsidise a never-ending influx of Europeans, many of whom make no contribution to our society.”
Another embarrassing gaffe from Newsnight! This blooper must rank with the interview when just before Lefty votes flocked to vote for Boris in the EU Ref. in droves, Evan Davis looked pityingly at Boris and said “Labour working people will never ever vote for you!”
As for Guy Verhofstadt, he is probably thanking his lucky stars that he will be facing David Davis not Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over negotiations. Not a good start.