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24th Jun 2016

Nigel Farage has already admitted this huge ‘Brexit’ NHS promise was a mistake

Ben Kenyon

It was one of the biggest pledges of the Leave campaign.

The Vote Leave camp said the £350m  it claimed was spent weekly on EU membership could be better spent pumped back into our cash-strapped NHS.

It was emblazoned on the side of a big red Brexit battle bus that drove around the country campaigning for Britain to exit the EU.

This promise of a better-funded health service instead of sending money to Brussels was one of the key things many Brexit voters identified with.

But within hours of the Leave campaign’s historic victories, one of its figureheads has pretty much called bullshit on it.

STAFFORD, ENGLAND - MAY 17: The Vote Leave campaign bus arrives at JBMI Group, Kingsilver Refinery in Hixon, Staffordshire during the Vote Leave, Brexit Battle Bus tour on May 17, 20016 in Stafford, England. Boris Johnson and the Vote Leave campaign are touring the UK in their Brexit Battle Bus. The campaign is hoping to persuade voters to back leaving the European Union in the Referendum on the 23rd June 2016. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Ukip Leader Nigel Farage went on ITV’s Good Morning Britain where he said this promise on the NHS had been a ‘mistake’.

Farage, who was actually part of the Leave EU campaign rather than the official Vote Leave movement, promptly disowned the pledge when asked if he could guarantee the NHS would get extra money.

“No I can’t [guarantee it], and I would never have made that claim. That was one of the mistakes that I think the Leave campaign made,” he said.

Interviewer Susanna Reid reminded him about the whole battle bus thing, be Farage replied: “It wasn’t one of my adverts – I can assure you! I think they made a mistake in doing that.

“We have a £10bn, £34m a day featherbed, that is going to be free money that we can spend on the NHS, on schools, on whatever it is.” 

The Leave Campaign were repeatedly criticised for using the £350m statistic on the side of the bus, which was debunked as false and misleading by experts.

The number didn’t take into account Britain’s EU rebate or extra cash the country gets through EU grants for agriculture and regional development.

People weren’t best pleased about it on Twitter…