• Viral badge

Four Brexit Promises That Have Already Gone Up In Smoke

Vote Leave, take back the status quo?


On the eve of the referendum, immigration was seen as the most important issue facing the country. Throughout its campaign, Leave put immigration and border control at the forefront.

David Cameron wants Turkey to join the EU. How will our NHS cope? Let's #TakeControl on 23 June

The tone of the campaign was heavily criticised – even prominent Leave campaigner Michael Gove said he "shuddered" at the UKIP poster below.

UKIP Leader @Nigel_Farage launching our new poster today. It's time to take back control of our borders.

But although Vote Leave pledged to implement a "points-based nondiscriminatory" immigration system modelled on Australia, no specific commitments to reducing the number of people coming into the country were made.

Hours after the Brexit vote was confirmed, Leave campaigner and Tory MEP Daniel Hannan said people expecting immigration to come down would be left disappointed.

“People are grown up and they understand this isn’t something that can happen tomorrow," he told BBC News.

“No one has ever suggested there is going to be no immigration."

On BBC2's Newsnight on Friday, presenter Evan Davis was literally left with his head in his hands while discussing the issue with Hannan.

"I’m sorry, we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration," Davis said. "The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement."

"We've always been clear we want a measure of control," Hannan said.

.@evanHD isn't happy with this potential change of tone on freedom of movement...#brexit #newsnight https://t.co/VKnfMz70ke


Remember the Vote Leave claim that we could fund the NHS by £350 million more a week if we left the EU? How could you miss it?

One of the most repeated soundbites of the campaign was also one of the mostly widely debunked: £350 million is the amount of money the UK contributes to the EU a week, but it does not take into account the UK's special rebate, which would in effect lower the weekly contributions to around £250 million.

In addition, because EU funding was re-allocated to the UK – such as university research funding or investments in infrastructure – the net figure is about £175 million a week.

In an appearance on ITV's Good Morning Britain after Leave won the vote, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the £350 million claim was a "mistake".

Asked by presenter Susanna Reid whether he could guarantee we'd be spending £350 million a week on hospitals, Farage replied: “No I can’t. I would never have made that claim. That was one of the mistakes made by the Leave campaign.”

He added: “It wasn’t one of my adverts.”

WATCH: @Nigel_Farage tells @susannareid100 it was a 'mistake' for Leave to claim there'd be £350M a week for NHS https://t.co/JNkl5k8IlK

Taking back control

As well as immigration, getting rid of unelected bureaucrats and restoring British sovereignty was a central message of the Leave campaign. Speaking during a Sky News referendum programme, Leave campaigner Gove said: "I think it's time that we said to people who are incapable of acknowledging that they've ever got anything wrong: 'I'm sorry, you've had your day.'

"Unelected, unaccountable elites, I'm afraid it's time to say, 'You're fired. We are going to take back control.'"

But Gove and fellow prominent Leave campaigners Boris Johnson and Gisela Stuart are in no rush to "take back control" now they've won the election.

When he announced his resignation in the coming months in light of the Brexit vote, prime minister David Cameron said it would be the responsibility of the next prime minister to begin the formal process via which a country leaves the EU – which has never happened before – called article 50.

Johnson, incidentally the favourite to replace Cameron, agreed, telling journalists: "In voting to leave the EU it’s vital to stress that there’s no need for haste, and as the prime minister has just said, nothing will change in the short term except work will begin on how to extricate this country from the supranational system. As the prime minister has said, there is no need to invoke article 50."

The EU meanwhile wants Britain to start the process to leave, which could take two years to complete, ASAP.

As for "unelected, unaccountable elites", whoever replaces Cameron as Tory leader, a contest determined by the party's MPs and then members, will automatically become prime minister, and will theoretically not need to face a general election until 2020.

The economy

A message from Vote Leave the day before the referendum said:

After we Vote Leave, there won't be a sudden change that disrupts the economy. The day after the referendum, nothing changes legally. We will talk to our friends in Europe and discuss the best way to agree a new UK-EU relationship.

However, the Brexit vote triggered the biggest fall in the pound in history, British-based banks saw a fifth of their value wiped out, the FTSE 100 experienced its biggest fall since the 2008 financial crisis, and currency exchanges closed their websites. There are rumours in the City that some banks are planning to relocate to the continent.