Alan Sugar says Boris Johnson and Michael Gove should be imprisoned over Brexit 'lies'

The Apprentice host suggests 2016 referendum result should be declared 'void'

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Friday 26 October 2018 09:14
Alan Sugar says Boris Johnson and Michael Gove should be imprisoned over Brexit 'lies'

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove should be imprisoned for "lies" they told during the Brexit referendum campaign, Alan Sugar has said.

The businessman and host of The Apprentice said the leading Brexiteers should face criminal action for claiming there would be £350m more to spend on the NHS after Brexit.

He suggested the result of the Brexit referendum should be declared "void" because the public had been "totally misled" by anti-EU campaigners.

Speaking during a House of Lords debate on a second Brexit referendum, Lord Sugar, who sits as a crossbench peer after quitting the Labour Party, initially said a fresh vote would be a "complete farce".

But referring to the 2016 poll, he added: "However, there is a very good argument to void that vote if it can be concluded that the public were totally misled and it is my belief that a large section of the British public were misled, informing their decision to vote to leave."

Describing the business world "where all comments and forecasts ... had to be scrutinised line by line by auditors and lawyers in a very tough due diligence and verification process", he said similar standards should be applied to politicians.

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He said: "No such process exists for claims politicians make.

"In some cases misleading shareholders had resulted in prosecution, imprisonment.

"Applying the public company principle, it should follow that those people who will be responsible for putting this country into five to 10 years of post-Brexit turmoil based on lies should be in prison or at least prosecuted.

"Such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove for the £350m lie they put on the red bus."

During the campaign, the Vote Leave group toured the country in a bus emblazoned with the words: "We send the EU £350m a week. Let's fund our NHS instead."

The figure has been comprehensively debunked, including by the UK's statistics watchdog.

Lord Sugar also revealed he had turned down an invitation from then prime minister David Cameron to argue for the Remain side in a televised debate prior to the referendum – a decision he said he continues to "kick" himself for rejecting.

During the Lords debate, peers from across the House spoke out in support for a Final Say referendum on whatever deal Theresa May negotiates with Brussels.

Tory peer Baroness Wheatcroft said another public vote was needed.

"This is looking increasingly like a posh boy's Brexit," she said.

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