Brexit campaigner Arron Banks today claimed it would be a “price worth paying” if each household lost £4,300 because the UK left the EU.
Last week, Chancellor George Osborne claimed Brexit would cost households £4,300 as the economy would grow more slowly than if it was in the EU.
Banks, co-founder of Leave.EU, told MPs that even if that figure was correct he still supported Brexit.
Appearing in front of Parliament’s Treasury Committee this afternoon, Banks said the decision to leave the EU was not about “pounds and pence”, but “democracy”.
The businessman and Ukip donor also turned his guns on rival Brexit group Vote Leave, which was awarded official campaign status earlier this month, claiming they lied in their application documentation.
When asked by Labour MP Rachel Reeves if he thought £4,300 was a “price worth paying” for Brexit, Banks said: “Well what I said was that if it was correct, even if it was correct it was a price worth paying to get back our own democracy. So in that sense that’s correct.
He added: “This isn’t about pounds and pence; this is about our democracy.”
Banks also admitted the pound would initially fall if the UK voted for Brexit, but “then it would recover – that’s the way of the markets”.
He went on to claim that any price rise in imported goods caused by the pound dropping would not be bad.
Banks said: “If you’re saying prices would domestically go up because the pound drops, yes. Is that a bad thing? No.”
Banks’ appearance before the Treasury Committee comes a week after Vote Leave’s campaign director Dominic Cummings was called to give evidence.
At the beginning of his session today, Banks did not row back from his previous attacks on his rival group.
Addressing Banks, Committee Chairman Andrew Tyrie said: “You said that their admission to the Electoral Commission was, I quote, ‘full of lies and misrepresentations’.
“You said that Vote Leave are lying and misrepresenting the situation. These people are ‘jokes’. That he in particular — that’s Matthew Elliott — wants to be “Lord Elliott of loserville”, and that he — Dominic Cummings — is a ‘liability and a danger’ to both Leave campaigns.”
Banks quipped: “I think you saw this evidence last week, so I don’t think I need to answer that question.”
When asked to expand his view, Banks said: “In terms of the Electoral Commission, our view of life was always that a Vote Leave bid was always an establishment bid, if you like.
“When you looked at the bid we put forward which was the full backing of Ukip, Leave.EU had something like a million public supporters signed up into it. We had all sorts of different groups representing a very large range of opinion in the Eurosceptic world and really Vote Leave was a Tory campaign with a few little additions to it. So it didn’t really represent the wider Eurosceptic view. That’s how we saw it.”
When asked to explain the “lies”, Banks said: “As a good example we funded Brexit: The Movie, which we spent nearly £45,000 putting money into the movie.
“They [Vote Leave] quoted in their submission they had one conversation where they basically said ‘If Mr. Farage or Ukip were even involved in the project, we won’t be involved in it’.
“So that was put in their submission as a fact that they had helped Brexit: The Movie to commission the movie and do those sort of things whereas we had pretty well funded 50 per cent of it.”
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