'Get that lie off your bus': Nicola Sturgeon and Maria Eagle shoot down Boris Johnson's £350m-a-week claim

Both politicians say the former Mayor of London is telling a 'whopper' with claim about money sent to Brussels

Caroline Mortimer
Thursday 09 June 2016 23:21 BST
Brexit debate June 9 - Part 1

Nicola Sturgeon and Angela Eagle joined forces to attack Boris Johnson's claim that Britain is sending £350m a week to the EU which would be better spent on "alleviating some of the problems in our NHS caused by uncontrolled immigration".

The Scottish First Minister and shadow Business Secretary were taking part in an ITV debate on Britain's continued membership of the European Union with the former Mayor of London and Brexit campaigner.

Mr Johnson claimed that the country should vote to leave on 23 June to regain control of the countries borders and stop sending money to Brussels.

But Ms Sturgeon countered the argument saying Mr Johnson had previously called for people "to be charged for using the NHS" and now he was "the defender of it".

She said: "I am staggered that Boris Johnson is now standing here still defending this £350m a week figure. It’s a scandal that is still emblazoned across the campaign bus because it is an absolute whopper.

"The statistics authority says so, the House of Commons select committee says so, everybody knows so.

"The contribution each of us makes to the EU every day is less than a pound, but what do we get for that money? We get freedom of travel, we get a single market of 500 million people, the chance to cooperate to keep us safer. These are the gains of being in the EU".

Ms Eagle then joined in, pointing at Mr Johnson telling him to "get that lie off (his) bus".

The Labour MP said it is untrue that mass immigration from the EU was creating social problems such as the housing crisis.

She accused the former mayor of doing little to deal with the housing crisis in London during his tenure in charge of the city.

Earlier in the deabte, Ms Sturgeon made a direct appeal to the voters not to let Vote Leave make the campaign about immigration.

She said:“If you’re struggling to access housing and public services, blame the politicians not the immigrant”.

The SNP leader said Britain could not afford to "pull up the drawbridge" and the Conservative Government's Austerity policies were to blame for low wages and declining living standards.

Ms Eagle said Mr Johnson "didn't care" about jobs as the only job he was interested in was "his next one".

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