Boris Johnson has been branded a “disgrace” by a senior Conservative MP for repeating the claim that the UK sends £350m a week to the EU.
Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the Commons health committee, said the foreign secretary was once again deliberately “misleading” people.
During the referendum campaign, Johnson famously toured the country in a bus with the £350m figure plastered across its side with a promise to redirect the money to the NHS after Brexit.
In an interview with The Guardian on Monday, Johnson went even further and claimed the true cost of the UK’s membership of the EU would be £438m by 2022.
Wollaston told BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday morning, Wollaston said she had “no idea” why Johnson kept making the claim. “He should stop doing so,” she added.
“He should stop using that figure. I feel it was entirely a deliberate deception. They knew that figure was incorrect,” she said.
Wollaston, a former GP, initially had intended to back the ‘Leave’ campaign, but switched sides, in part due to the £350m figure.
“I had people [on the Leave campaign] repeatedly saying to me: ‘Well all that matters is people remember a big number’.
“I found that shocking. I think it’s absolutely shocking there are people continuing to use it. He should stop using it. It is a disgrace and I feel very strongly about that.”
Anna Soubry, one of the key pro-Remain Tory backbenchers, yesterday said Johnson had “conned″ voters with the NHS promise. “Our foreign secretary, who holds after all one of the Great Offices of State, is not squaring up and being honest with the British public - and they deserve honesty as we leave the European Union,” she told the BBC.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Johnson has told Theresa May she must give the NHS an extra £100m a week after Brexit in order to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from becoming prime minister.
Labour has reported Johnson to the UK Statistics Authority over his claim the £350m figure is too low.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Johnson had “chosen to repeat this statement and expand on the claim even further. I do not believe this to be acceptable”.
In September, the UK Statistics Authority accused Johnson of a “a clear misuse” of figures for the £350m a week claim.