EU Referendum Leave U-Turns On Immigration, NHS And 'Taking Our Country Back'

Well that didn't take long.

25/06/2016 17:28

The dust is still settling after this week's momentous EU referendum but already the Leave campaign has had to perform some hasty backtracking.

1) The NHS

Almost immediately after hailing victory, Nigel Farage was forced to admit one of the central pledges of the Leave campaign simply wasn't true.

They had said the weekly £350 million saving in EU contributions could be spent on the NHS instead, but confronted by Susanna Reid on ITV’s Good Morning, the Ukip leader swiftly changed his tune.

When asked whether he could guarantee the bold pledge promoted on the side of a much-photographed battle bus would be delivered on, the Farage said: "No I can’t", adding it was a "mistake".

Reid said: "You’re saying, after 17m people have voted for Leave based - I don’t know how many people voted on the basis of that advert, but it was a huge part of the propaganda - you’re saying that was a mistake?"

The figure has been criticised repeatedly in the past for being “misleading”, included by the UK Statistics Authority.

2) Immigration

For many of those intending to vote leave, immigration was the most important issue with an Independent poll in early June finding a third of voters more concerned with it than the economy.

Farage repeatedly raised it as a concern, drawing criticism for stoking up fears of terrorism and sex attacks.

He told The Sunday Telegraph before the vote: “The nuclear bomb this time would be about Cologne ... There are some very big cultural issues”.

When asked whether our EU membership boosted the risk of Cologne-style attacks, Farage told the paper: “It depends if they get EU passports. It depends if we vote for Brexit or not. It is an issue.”

On Saturday morning, leading Brexit campaigner, MEP Daniel Hannan, was accused by Newsnight's Evan Davis of peddling an immigration policy “completely at odds with what the public think they’ve just voted for” after Brexit. 

In an extraordinary exchange that at one point saw Davis put his head in his hands in despair, Hannan admitted the UK would still allow free movement of labour from Europe.

Davis said: "I’m sorry we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration.

"The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement."

3) The Economy

On the eve of the referendum, Vote Leave announced:

After we Vote Leave, there won’t be a sudden change that disrupts the economy. The day after the referendum, nothing changes legally. We will talk to our friends in Europe and discuss the best way to agree a new UK-EU relationship.

Then this happened...


The morning saw the pound plummet to a low not seen since 1985 with a loss of £122 billion to the FTSE 100.

The FTSE 100 did make a slight recovery by the time markets had closed.

Sterling dropped to a 30-year low against the dollar, falling from 1.50 dollars to 1.36. One single vote count in Sunderland caused a fall greater than that of historic Black Wednesday in 1992.

Stocks were in free fall and City of London traders were engaged in “frantic” trading overnight as the markets began a rollercoaster ride.

Exchange website also appeared to have crashed on Friday morning, as users frantically checked the dwindling rates.

4) Taking Our Country Back

The rather vague phrase popped up repeatedly throughout the campaign largely leave voters presumably reminiscing about a bygone era.

Quite what it exactly means is still a bit of a mystery but one leave voter has given us some idea...

Regardless, the politicians heading the leave vote don't seem in that much of a rush.

Boris Johnson said: "In voting to leave the EU it’s vital to stress that there’s no need for haste, and as the prime minister has just said nothing will change in the short term except work will begin on how to extricate this country from the supranational system.

"As the prime minister has said there is no need to invoke article 50."

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