The Norway Option

Before the referendum, leave campaigners, campaigns, assorted brexiteers and “journalists” told voters that leaving the EU would not mean the end of free movement of people, or the end of Single Market membership.

Sometimes they said this completely explicitly, but often they just referred to the “Norway or Swiss Option” as shorthand for a wonderful prosperous future outside of the EU, but within the single market.

Norway, Switzerland, Iceland are all either members or de facto members of the Schengen agreement. They all participate in the free movement of people.

The claims that voting “leave” in 2016 was understood to mean “leave the single market” or ending free movement of people, are a lie. It’s a matter of public record that people were told the opposite, by the official and unofficial campaigns and major Brexit figureheads.

This is a non exhaustive list, but it is enough evidence to prove that we do not need to leave the single market to satisfy the so called “Will of the people*”.

*Ill-defined will of a minority of people living in the UK, that may or not be the same today.

  1. Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market

Here’s what the “thinking man’s brexiteer” Daniel Hannan of official Vote Leave campaign, went on national TV to assure leave voters that:

Just to hammer that home:

2. Wouldn’t it be terrible if we were like Norway and Switzerland? Really?

What about Farage?

The most single minded and ideological of Brexiteers?

3. NON-EU Norway and Switzerland are two of the richest countries in the world

What about the other campaigns?

UKIP and Vote Leave were convincing their 800,000 followers that the Norway or Swiss option, both of which have free movement of people, would be the result of voting leave. posts from May 2016:

4. Lets copy Switzerland and keep free movement of people!

5. Let’s join EFTA! Iceland and Switzerland are part of Schengen, effectively.

Some posts from a bit further back, 2015.

Leave.EU were promoting the EFTA membership, suggesting that we would keep free movement of people outside of the EU.

6. The Norway option looks the best

Arron Banks himself publicly called for the Norway Option:

7. Vote Leave: We can be like Switzerland

What about physical campaign literature from Vote Leave?

Were they calling for the UK to leave the single market, making it clear to voters that’s what Leave meant?


Here’s a Vote Leave campaign leaflet dropped through the letterboxes of voters.

Quote: “You don’t have to be a member of the EU to trade with it. Countries across the world trade with the EU without being members of it. Switzerland is not in the EU and exports even more to the EU than we do.

Quite apart from the silliness of that quote, which refers to physical goods, not services which the UK economy is geared towards, the leaflet makes it clear that a vote for leave is to “be like Switzerland”. That is, keep free movement of people.

Here’s the full flier, there’s some lies about Turkey and scaremongering about brown people in there too if you fancy increasing your rage-0-meter.

8. Daniel Hannan and really made themselves repeatedly clear

Daniel Hannan wrote a quite silly article in the telegraph. called “A vision of Britain outside the EU. Confident successful and free”.

A quote:

 “we forged overseas relationships while remaining full members of the EU’s common market – covered by free movement of goods, services and capital.”

Seeing as Daniel Hannan rather mean spiritedly deleted his other similar article on another site, predicting how amazing life would be outside the EU, here’s a screenshot in case he decides to ring up the web editors at the Telegraph.

Hannan’s Telegraph article calling for the UK to remain in the single market had full endorsement from Leave.EU in 2015:

9.“Dont worry, this model still includes all four freedoms including movement of people”.”

How about Dan Hannan calling for EFTA membership in May 2016:

“ the Four countries (of the EFTA) are fully covered by the Four Freedoms of the single market, that is to say the movement of goods and services, of people and capital. ” and “Dont worry, this model still includes all four freedoms including movement of people”.”

It’s even on a website:

10. BOJO promises free movement

Here’s what Boris Johnson wrote shortly after the referendum.

I know you can’t trust a word that charlatan says, but for what it’s worth:

British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market.

That’s freedom of movement.

11. is proposing that we would ever leave this free trade area if were to leave the EU

This video was posted on Leave.EU, a month or two before the referendum.

The caption posted by Leave.Eu reads: “movie that explains why you should vote leave on 23 June!”.

A pretty hearty endorsement for the video’s content. It was viewed 9.5 million times in the month or two before the referendum.

The video opens with the following statement:

“Not all countries in the free trade area are EU members. Noone is proposing that we would ever leave this free trade area, if we were to leave the EU

A clip from the video can be viewed below:

12. We have a great independent future, just as countries like Norway and Switzerland enjoy
That sounds lovely, Luke Johnson, of the official campaign to leave the European Union.
Only a madman would leave the Single Market!
 13. Why is Norway so rich? – The Daily Mail
And from our beloved friends at the Daily Mail hankering after a weird kind of neat freak scandi-nazi paradise, with “well husbanded countryside” and “orderly comfortable cities” that apparently you can only achieve outside of the EU. BUT IN THE SINGLE MARKET.
From the article:
You can read the whole thing here.
Or archived here, if they decide to delete it.
14. What if we hadn’t joined the EU? – The Daily Mail
The Daily Mail fantasises back in 2007 about being in the Single market, outside of the EU, like Norway.
Let’s be like Norway and Swizterland and keep free movement of people! (Signed, the Daily Mail).
You can read the article here, or here if they retrospectively delete it.
15. Boris Johnson, in 2012. Let’s be inside the “Single Market Council”
Johnson is usually casually dismissive and doesn’t care about the details, so it’s normal for him to create a new body called the “single market council” which does not exist.
In any case, he was quite clear about not leaving the single market.
16. Tim “Law graduate worth £500m, man of the people” Martin of Wetherspoons
Martin forces his minimum wage employees to hand out pro-Brexit material to drinkers, as well as posting un solicited Brexit propaganda to people in the mail. His insane, pro brexit propaganda, pub “magazine” told people before the referendum that the UK would remain part of the single market in the event of brexit.


17. Marcus Fysh MP, the day before the referendum:

He waited two years, then posted an update tweet saying that he’s changed his mind and that it’s now the EU that has apparently ‘ruled out’ his “Credible Norwegian model” that he advised people should vote for.

There are dozens more examples, easily found. Leave them in the comments if you have any particularly glaring ones.


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