Video evidence has emerged of Nigel Farage saying EU cash should be spent on the National Health Service after Brexit.
The Ukip leader on Friday morning denied having endorsed a pledge to spend Britain’s EU contribution on the NHS just hours after the referendum results came in.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that the pledge came from others in the Leave campaign and that it was their “mistake” to loudly earmark £350 million for the health service during the campaign.
However footage from BBC Question Time on 9 June – just weeks before the referendum – shows the Ukip leader claiming the available cash was higher than £350 million and saying money should be spent on hospitals and GPs.
“Can we just get to the truth of this - £350 million a week is wrong, it’s higher than that,” he told the programme’s audience.
“FACT – absolute fact – from the official statistics cross-checked from the EU: we pay £55 million a day as a contribution. Some of that is the rebate which doesn’t go but our gross contribution is £55 million a day.”
“We should spend that money here, in our own country, on our own people,” he added.
When subsequently challenged by an audience member who said he advocated an insurance system and did not “believe in the NHS”, he said:
6 ways Britain leaving the EU will affect you
6 ways Britain leaving the EU will affect you
1/6 More expensive foreign holidays
The first practical effect of a vote to Leave is that the pound will be worth less abroad, meaning foreign holidays will cost us more
2/6 No immediate change in immigration status
The Prime Minister will have to address other immediate concerns. He is likely to reassure nationals of other EU countries living in the UK that their status is unchanged. That is what the Leave campaign has said, so, even after the Brexit negotiations are complete, those who are already in the UK would be allowed to stay
3/6 Higher inflation
A lower pound means that imports would become more expensive. This is likely to mean the return of inflation – a phenomenon with which many of us are unfamiliar because prices have been stable for so long, rising at no more than about 2 per cent a year. The effect may probably not be particularly noticeable in the first few months. At first price rises would be confined to imported goods – food and clothes being the most obvious – but inflation has a tendency to spread and to gain its own momentum
4/6 Interest rates might rise
The trouble with inflation is that the Bank of England has a legal obligation to keep it as close to 2 per cent a year as possible. If a fall in the pound threatens to push prices up faster than this, the Bank will raise interest rates. This acts against inflation in three ways. First, it makes the pound more attractive, because deposits in pounds will earn higher interest. Second, it reduces demand by putting up the cost of borrowing, and especially by taking larger mortgage payments out of the economy. Third, it makes it more expensive for businesses to borrow to expand output
5/6 Did somebody say recession?
Mr Carney, the Treasury and a range of international economists have warned about this. Many Leave voters appear not to have believed them, or to think that they are exaggerating small, long-term effects. But there is no doubt that the Leave vote is a negative shock to the economy. This is because it changes expectations about the economy’s future performance. Even though Britain is not actually be leaving the EU for at least two years, companies and investors will start to move money out of Britain, or to scale back plans for expansion, because they are less confident about what would happen after 2018
6/6 And we wouldn’t even get our money back
All this will be happening while the Prime Minister, whoever he or she is, is negotiating the terms of our future access to the EU single market. In the meantime, our trade with the EU would be unaffected, except that companies elsewhere in the EU may be less interested in buying from us or selling to us, expecting tariff barriers to go up in two years’ time. Whoever the Chancellor is, he or she may feel the need to bring in a new Budget
“Do you know what I’d like to do with the £10 billion? I’d like that £10 billion to be spent helping the communities in Britain that [the] Government damaged so badly by opening up the doors to former communist countries. What people need is schools, hospitals, and GPs. That’s what they need.”
On Good Morning Britain on results day, Mr Farage however said: “No, I can’t [guarantee the money would go to the NHS]. I would never have made that claim.
“That was one of the mistakes I think the Leave campaign made. It wasn’t one of my adverts, I can assure you. I think they made a mistake in doing that.”
He went on to describe the UK’s contribution to the NHS as a “featherbed”.
The about-face from Mr Farage comes amid a series of U-turns from the Brexit camp immediately after results came in.
Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, who unlike Mr Farage campaigned with the official Vote Leave group, said he now believed a post-EU settlement should not result in reduced immigration.
“Chaps, look at what I said throughout the campaign: it's all on Twitter, YouTube etc. I was for more control, not for minimal immigration,” he tweeted on Saturday morning.
The Leave campaign won the EU referendum by 52 per cent to 48 per cent. The campaign largely centered around immigration and spending EU contributions on the NHS.