Video evidence emerges of Nigel Farage pledging EU millions for NHS weeks before Brexit vote

The Ukip leader distanced himself from the pledge just hours after EU referendum results became known

Jon Stone
Saturday 25 June 2016 17:37 BST
Nigel Farage says EU money should be spent in hospitals.mp4

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:

“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.

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