In Depth

Esther McVey branded ‘serial liar’ after euro warning on Twitter

Former Tory minister forced to delete post claiming all EU members have to adopt the European currency after 2020

Former Tory minister Esther McVey has been branded a “serial liar” after tweeting untrue claims about the EU.

The Tory Brexiteer approvingly quoted an opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph from 2014 in which Brexit-supporting economist Andrew Lilico suggested “at some point, perhaps shortly after 2020, with the Eurozone constituted as a confederate Single European State and wanting to use the institution of the EU as its institutions […] the residual nugatory non-Eurozone EU will have to be wound up.”

Lilico suggested that it “seems highly unlikely” that there would be any non-euro members of the EU by 2020, “given the existential economic necessity of the Eurozone forming into a deeper political union”.

In a tweet on Sunday that referred to the Telegraph article, McVey wrote: “Are the public aware of this? And the many other things the EU has planned for its member states after 2020? #trust #WatchOut.”

Her post attracted more than 3,000 replies before she deleted it, “most of them as scathing as you would expect”, says Politico’s Jack Blanchard.

Some Twitter users pointed to a tweet posted by McVey hours before she made the EU claim that decried the lack of trust in British politicians.

McVey later appeared to concede that her tweet had caused something of a stir, but then shifted the parameters of her argument.

In the wake of the incident, the former work and pensions secretary’s Wikipedia page was changed to include the phrase “provable serial liar” in her biography.

It is not the first time that McVey has been accused of repeating unproven information.

In July last year, National Audit Office (NAO) boss Sir Amyas Morse took what The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee described as the “extraordinary step” of publishing a letter of reprimand sent to McVey when she was in charge of the Department for Work and Pensions. In the letter, Morse claimed that she had made a series of misleading statements to the Commons in which she misrepresented the views of the NAO.

McVey later apologised to the House for “inadvertently misleading” MPs on the issue, insisting it was a “mistake”.

Despite calls for her resignation in the wake of the letter, McVey hung on until November, when she resigned over Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal. McVey said the deal “does not honour the result of the referendum” and she “could not look [her] constituents in the eye” over the plans.

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