Boris Johnson And Vote Leave Slapped Down For 'Misleading' Voters About Cost Of EU Membership

27/05/2016 12:06 | Updated 27 May 2016
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove and other Brexit campaigners have been slapped down for "misleading" voters in the EU referendum debate.

The pro-Brexit Vote Leave campaign has claimed the United Kingdom's membership of the EU costs it £350m a week. The figure is featured on its campaign literature and plastered across its battle bus.

But the independent UK Statistics Authority today said this was not true. The authority's chairman, Sir Andrew Dilnot, said it was "vital that official statistics are used accurately".

"The UK Statistics Authority is disappointed to note that there continue to be suggestions that the UK contributes £350 million to the EU each week, and that this full amount could be spent elsewhere," he said.

"As we have made clear, the UK’s contribution to the EU is paid after the application of the rebate. We have also pointed out that there are payments received by the UK public and private sectors that are relevant here. The continued use of a gross figure in contexts that imply it is a net figure is misleading and undermines trust in official statistics."

The authority said the £350m figure was too high as it did not take into account the budget rebate the UK receives from the EU or other money that flows from Brussels to the UK public sector.

Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the Commons Treasury committee ,said the Vote Leave battlebus should be "repainted immediately".

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