Social media takes former minister to task over Brexit claims with #McVeyFacts

Former cabinet minister Esther McVey was taken to task on social media on Monday after tweeting and then deleting a false claim about the European Union.

On Sunday the former Department of Work and Pensions secretary shared a tweet claiming all EU member states will "have to adopt the euro" after 2020 on her personal Twitter account, writing: "Are the public aware of this? and the many other things the EU has planned for its member states after 2020? #trust #WatchOut".

Esther McVey through the years
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Esther McVey through the years
Esther McVey at the Tric Awards, London.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey leaves the Park Plaza Hotel in London, where Prime Minister Theresa May was attending the 'Conservative Friends Of Israel' annual lunch.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey speaking at a Leave Means Leave rally at Central Hall in London.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey asks a question about Brexit from the back benches during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey speaks during the Conservative Party annual conference at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey leaving 10 Downing Street, London, after a Cabinet meeting.
Esther McVey (left) after she lost her Wirral West parliamentary seat to the Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood as the result is called at Wirral Tennis Centre, Bidston, Wirral.
Esther McVey candidate for Conservatives for Wirral West waits as a recount is announced at Wirral Tennis Centre, Bidston, Wirral during the General Election Count.
Conservative candidate for Wirral West Esther McVey talks to van driver Gordon Rutter on General Election Day in West Kirkby.
Employment minister Esther McVey and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith leaving after a Cabinet meeting in Downing Street, London, before the annual Budget statement is delivered by Chancellor George Osborne.
NOTE ALTERNATE CROP Minister for Employment and Disabilities Esther McVey looks at Prime Minister David Cameron during a tour of the production line at Brompton Bicycle Ltd in Brentford, Middlesex.
Esther McVey Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People, arrives at 10 Downing Street, London, as Prime Minister David Cameron, kicked off a coalition reshuffle, with Scottish Secretary Michael Moore among the casualties.
Esther McVey during the 16th Amazing Great Children's Party - which is UK's largest Children party - in aid of Children with Leukaemia at Battersea Park in South London.
Esther McVey arriving at the Dorchester Hotel in London for the Pink Ribbon Ball, in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign.
TV presenter Esther McVey arriving at Rascasse in London's Berkeley Street for the Men's Health: British male cover star contest.
TV presenter Esther McVey arriving at the Hotel Inter-Continental, London for the Nordoff-Robbins Silver Clef Awards, honouring songwriting and performance.
TV Presenter Esther McVey arrives at the British Academy Television Awards, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London.
TV presenter Esther McVey arriving at the Le Meridien Grosvenor House Hotel, London, for the 2002 TRIC (Television & Radio Industries Club) Awards.
TV presenter Esther McVey arrives at the Dorchester Hotel in London for Pink Ribbon Ball.
Host Esther McVey during the The Heritage Foundation Awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The accolades pay tribute to Britain's comedy both past and present. *...For the first year the categories have been extended to include outstanding comedy achievements from television and radio alongside the usual comedy performances and script writing groups. See PA story SHOWBIZ Awards. PA photo: Stefan Rousseau.
TV presenter Esther McVey arrives for the James Bond Gala Night at the Dorchester Hotel, London.
TV presenter Esther McVey arriving at the Grosvenor House in central London for the Television and Radio Industries Club (Tric) awards.
TV presenter Esther McVey at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 1999 at The Grosvenor House Hotel, in London's Park Lane.
BBC Head of Drama, Mal Young, and TV presenter Esther McVey at the annual Pink Ribbon Ball which aims to raise 50,000 for the Breast Cancer Campaign, at the Dorchester hotel in London.
TV presenter, Esther McVey arrives for the Dolls against Addiction Gala Evening held at the Natural History Musuem in London.
TV presenter Esther McVey attends the TVQuick Awards at the Dorchester Hotel, London

The tweet she shared, from the pro-Leave Brexit Central, linked to a 2014 opinion piece which argued that "political union in the eurozone is an economic existential necessity".

However, both Denmark and the UK have negotiated to remain outside the eurozone, in a similar way to how the UK is outside the Schengen zone of free movement and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Her tweet, which she has since deleted, caused uproar across the social network as Ms McVey was accused of spreading misinformation.

Activist Femi Oluwole, who campaigns for a so-called People's Vote on Brexit, tweeted: "Esther McVey published fake news saying the UK would have to join the Euro if we stayed in the EU.

"This is the same crap that floated around Facebook WEEKS AGO, and I debunked it ⬇️BELOW⬇️, yet this former government secretary is still sharing lies. #McVeyFacts"

The hashtag #McVeyFacts was trending across the UK on Monday as Twitter users tried to outdo each other with outlandish and imaginary "facts".

"Are the public aware that after 2020 the first born male child must be named Ian and that because of their standardised EU birth certificate, shall henceforth be referred to as 'Europe Ian'. #McVeyFacts," quipped one Twitter user.

"Are the public aware that, by 2021, every school in every EU nation will be required to sing a song of allegiance to Jean Claude Juncker instead of holding an assembly? #McVeyFacts," joked another.

Ms McVey told the Press Association: "The truth is no one knows how the EU will change in the future and if the UK remains the changes it would undergo.

"For instance, if anyone said in the 1975 referendum on the common market this would lead to the EU with free movement of people and so many laws being decided by qualified majority voting, people would have said that was rubbish and untrue. Yet it happened."

However, both free movement of workers and qualified majority voting were part of the European Common Market before the UK joined in 1973.

Steve Peers, professor of EU, human rights and world trade law at the University of Essex, said: "The basic framework of the EU can't be changed without the consent of all its member states.

"The changes since 1975 were all approved by Acts of Parliament."

Ms McVey continued: "In the EU referendum when people talked about an EU army it was said it was a lie and yet it is now seriously being discussed.

"No one could have predicted in 1975 the common market would have become the EU super state and equally no one knows the future of the EU now."

Mr Peers added that "every member state has a veto or opt out from EU defence co-operation".

Ms McVey had earlier sought to backtrack on her initial tweet, writing: "From reading the comments, even if you don't agree with the article I posted, I think we can all agree on one thing – we never want the UK to join the Euro. True or false ? #true"

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