The £350m a week figure the Leave campaign fictitiously claimed the UK sends the European Union was a “gross underestimate”, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has falsely asserted.
The controversial figure has become a byword for political mendacity and a clear demonstration of the fabrications used by the Leave campaign to con their way to victory. UK statistics watchdog, Sir David Norgrove, called it “a clear misuse of official statistics” and Nigel Farage denied the claim within hours of the referendum result.
In an interview with the Guardian earlier this week, Johnson went on record to say that £350m a week was an “underestimate”, and claimed that the UK’s contribution to the EU was already £362m a week and would rise to £438m by the end of the post-Brexit transition. His claims are false. The new figures do not take into account the UK’s rebate of over £75m a week, and Johnson also fails to admit the reason for Britain’s rising contribution is the collapse in the value of the pound after the Brexit referendum result.
Conservative MP Anna Soubry said Johnson should “man up” and stop “conning people” and Labour accused him of returning “to the scene of his previous crimes”.
Part of Johnson’s previous £350m a week claim was the call to use the money to fund the NHS instead. Instead, the NHS currently faces chronic under-funding and the worst winter crisis in the health service’s history because of Conservative austerity policies implemented over the last decade, mostly under the guidance of Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt.