Leave's vow to fund NHS with money saved from Brussels 'not a promise broken'


A leading Leave campaigner has denied breaking a promise to switch £350 million a week from Brussels to the health service.

Tory former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith insisted he never said all the money would go to the NHS, despite that pledge being pasted across the Vote Leave battle bus.

Mr Duncan Smith acknowledged that around half of the £350 million a week British contribution to the EU came back to the UK from Brussels anyway, and said the "lion's share" of the remainder could go to the health service if the Government made that choice.

Presented with a Leave poster stating: "Let's give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week" when he appeared on BBC One's Andrew Marr show, Mr Duncan Smith said: "It is not a promise broken, I never said that through the course of the election, what I said was we will be able to spend the lion's share of that money.

"What was actually said at the time, and I said it myself, consistently through, which was we hand over £19.1 billion, half of which is gone into the European Union.

"And other bits come back directed by the European Union, so we said throughout that we would stand by some critical areas, those areas that are being funded, structural regional funds will be funded, we'd have more money to spend on the NHS because we wouldn't be losing half of that sum of money and we'd stand by commitments that have been made to things like agriculture, the rest were just a series of possibilities of what you could then do beyond those main commitments," Mr Duncan Smith said.

During the Campaign the Commons Treasury committee criticised use of the £350 million figure by the Leave side.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who was not part of the official Vote Leave campaign, said it had been a "mistake" for the £350 million pledge to have been made.