Threat to British number plates? Think again

Daily Express article - screen grab

"Plot to axe OUR British number plates," rages the front page of the Daily Express today.

With six weeks to go before the European elections the paper claims car number plates "could be outlawed" by the European Parliament next week.

EU officials say that's simply not the case.

They argue that the article is misleading, saying there's no plan to scrap British number plates and that the new law is designed to reduce the cost and time it takes to register a vehicle abroad.

So why is the paper so concerned?

There's an amendment to the legislation which reads that the European Commission "should consider" putting ID tags on number plates. It also says EU officials "could" consider number plates being in common colours.

Critics of the EU will argue those "shoulds" and "coulds" might become law.

So will British number plates be "outlawed" next week? No.

This is an early stage of the legislative process and the overall law still needs to be agreed with EU member states (including the UK).

Will the UK back the idea?

No again.

A UK official told me these shoulds and coulds aren't even firm proposals at the moment.

"Even if other EU countries pursued this, which we don't think they are, the UK wouldn't support it. We don't think the idea is heading anywhere," the official told the BBC.

The Leveson report on the British press talked about how "there is certainly clear evidence of misreporting on European issues," and that there must not be "deliberate or careless misrepresentation of facts".

Worth bearing that in mind as Britain and the rest of the EU prepare to elect their MEPs for the next five years.