21/07/2017 13:14 BST | Updated 21/07/2017 15:10 BST

Nigel Farage Selectively Quotes Article 50 With 'Dishonest' Claim About Divorce Bill

NEVER hold up a a sheet of paper for a photo.

LATEST: LBC has retracted the article and issued a clarification (see below).

Nigel Farage has been forced to delete a tweet claiming the UK does not have to pay anything to the EU after 2020.

During his LBC radio show last night the former UKIP-leader waxed lyrical about his favourite topic whilst holding up a piece of paper that he claimed was a direct quote from Article 50.

He said: “So you could say, morally, that we have signed up to a series of spending agreements that take us through a little bit past the date we’re going to leave.

“But beyond that, do we have any legal obligation? 

“Well, in Article 50 it makes clear that ‘the rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties would therefore extinguish upon our leaving’.

“It’s very clear there are no future obligations.”

After the show he tweeted the following...

The now-deleted tweet.

Unfortunately for Farage a number of people noticed that Article 50 says nothing of the sort.

Farage had in fact been quoting from European Parliament brief from February 2016 that has no legal standing and the content of which is ”... the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament”.

The tweet was deleted and replaced with another attempting to make the sourcing of the quote clearer.

Unfortunately - again - for Farage he appears not to have completed reading the sentence he’s quoting.

The full text reads

The rights and obligations deriving from the Treaties would therefore extinguish, at least to the extent agreed between the EU and the withdrawing state.

So, what does this mean for Farage’s claim? Well, being Brexit it’s not straightforward, but the claim that we categorically won’t owe the EU anything because of what is set out in Article 50 is wide of the mark.

Professor Iain Begg of the London School of Economics, told HuffPost UK: “There are differing legal views on this. There is a respectable argument that once you leave, all obligations cease as Farage claims.

“Unsurprisingly, the EU side disagrees and has its own expert opinions. There are, for example, commitments being made today for which the final bill, quite properly, will only be presented in five years’ time, such as binding contracts to finance roads, other big infrastructure projects or multi-annual research. 

“In practice, the legal position is likely to be beside the point, because it will be decided politically and the UK has, in effect, already signalled that it will meet some obligations. They are now haggling about which ones.

“The headline of ‘after 2020’ is more intriguing, Assuming we leave in 2019, there may indeed be no obligation beyond 2020, given that the so-called divorce bill is about settling up for obligations incurred during membership. However, the UK may want to continue to be part of certain EU programmes, for instance research.

“Moreover, Norway and Switzerland both pay into the EU’s coffers under various headings, and this is (to some extent) seen as a quid pro quo for market access.  Soft Brexit might, therefore, imply continuing payments.”

So there you go - and maybe spare a thought for those who have to deal with all of this, even David Davis.

LBC later issued a clarification and retracted the article. Ofcom told the HuffPost UK it had received a number of complaints. 

On a lighter note, Farage fell for the age-old gaffe of holding up a sheet of paper and then tweeting a photo of himself doing so which inevitably led to this...


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