As we said before (you can refresh your memory here) Brexit largely encouraged the use of fake news in order to persuade public opinion.
During the election campaign a red bus crossed the United Kingdom with the slogan “We send the EU 350 million pounds a week, fund our NHS (the “National Health Service”) instead.”
It was the key pledge of the politicians that campaigned to leave the European Union and Dominic Cummings, Campaign Director of Vote Leave, said that it was a necessary argument to win.
This promise was the reason why a huge part of the electorate voted to leave on 23 June 2016.
But now part of electorate is having to deal with the fact that it was totally fake news, for at least two reasons.
Firstly, it is not accurate to say that Britain will lose £350 million each week – this amount is purely hypothetical.
Since Margaret Thatcher negotiated Britain’s rebate in 1984, the UK obtained a reduction of £4.9 billion membership fee, paying £248 million every week.
Also, like all the other Member Countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom obtains subsidies and financing for around £5.8 billion every year.
With this information which can be found by simply reading the statement on the 2015 EU Budget of the HM Treasury, it is clear that the statement says that the UK pays £136 million to the EU – less than 40 per cent of the amount written on the red bus.
Secondly, more than nine months after the Brexit vote, the NHS system has not received any extra funds.
The day after the EU referendum, Nigel Farage backtracked about this pledge saying that it was not a good idea to use this argument.
On February 7th 2017 the House of Lords discussed an amendment promoted by Labour’s Chuka Umunna, to ask the Prime Minister to set out a plan regarding the promise that was made.
But all those who campaigned with the NHS bus – Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox etc. – voted against their own promise, deciding not to honour their pledge.