back to top
Politics

Iain Duncan Smith: "I Never Said" The NHS Would Get £350 Million After Brexit

The leading anti-EU Tory has distanced himself from a pledge written on the side of Vote Leave's official campaign bus.

Posted on

Despite having been filmed next to a Vote Leave campaign bus emblazoned with the pledge, Duncan Smith said on Sunday that the £350 million figure was just an "extrapolation".

“The £350 million was an extrapolation on the £19.1 billion – that’s the total amount of money we gave back to the European Union," the former work and pensions secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr.

“What we actually said was a significant amount of it would go to the NHS. It’s essentially down to the government, but I believe that is what was pledged and that’s what should happen.”

He continued: “We must talk about it going to the NHS, there are other bits and pieces like agriculture, which is part of the process. That is the divide-up. It was never the total.”

Duncan Smith’s comments prompted an immediate, and furious, reaction online.

IDS: I never said £350m would go to the NHS. That's not a promise broken. #Marr: [Brings receipts.]

Advertisement

'I never said that', says IDS over £350m for NHS. I must have imagined that fecking huge red bus you were on then. #marr #allpoliticianslie

Ian Duncan Smith now admitting in round about way that they lied about this mythical £350m #Marr He's backtracking like mad. LIARS all.

Nigel Farage, who although one of the Leave side’s most prominent campaigners was not part of the official Vote Leave campaign, has also publicly disavowed the £350 million figure.

“It wasn’t one of my adverts,” he said in an interview on Friday morning. He conceded the number may have been a “mistake”.

The number was repeatedly described as "misleading" by the UK Statistics Authority watchdog, which urged the Leave campaign to stop using it and said it did not “not take into account the rebate or other flows from the EU to the UK public sector”.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.