Boris Johnson’s £350 million EU claim is still a lie, no matter how he dresses it up

Over a cliff: The Brexit bus, with all its claims of a new Golden Age for the UK, teeters on the edge. Boris Johnson, in the driver’s seat, says: “Boys? I’ve got an idea.”

It is incredible that people are still giving credence to Boris Johnson and his repetition of the lie that was painted on the side of the ‘Brexit bus’ during the run-up to the EU referendum.

As This Writer pointed out, more than a year ago, the UK never gave £350 million a week to the EU. With rebates and revenue from favourable EU trading conditions, the total value of our contributions was less than half that. Add in the money brought into the UK by the work of EU migrants and the UK is in profit by £120 million per week – nearly £6.25 billion per year – based on last year’s figures.

Even if you strip out the public and private sector receipts, the UK’s contribution doesn’t come to anything like £350 million per week.

The latest twist in the tale is Mr Johnson’s row with the head of the UK Statistics Authority, who wrote to warn him that the figure “confuses gross and net contributions” and is “a clear misuse of official statistics:

Mr Johnson has written a furious screed in response, claiming that it misrepresents what he said, which was that the UK would “take back control” of the £350 million per week, and it would be “a fine thing” if much of that money “went on the NHS”:

But, as Steve Peers points out below (and I pointed out more than a year ago), the UK already decides how to spend the rebate, so it cannot be considered “extra public spending”:

As far as This Writer is concerned, Mr Johnson was clearly either lying or stupid. In either case, his claim that his outburst was not the start of a leadership challenge against Theresa May and he remains “all behind” her can only undermine her position: She employs idiots.

The responses on Twitter have been enjoyable:

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  1. Stu September 18, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

    The guy is a clown and a national embarrassment.
    Uncannily similar to Donald Trump….

    Both born in New York
    Both have questionable hair and image
    Both love the sound of their own voices – regardless of the nonsense that comes out
    Both refuse to admit that they are wrong despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary
    I could go on but i’m bored now.

  2. Andrew Carter September 18, 2017 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Our payment to the EU is listed at the moment as being £17 billion. This is the gross figure. Repeat gross figure. If you divide that by 52 it equals £326 923 077. Or £3.3 billion when rounded up. Now if this figure is the base figure before any adjustments which would include rebates etc, then Boris is not that far from being accurate. One also should take into account the UK position in contributing to the EU whole budget of (2016) €136.6 billion, which according to
    was 13.45%.
    Please remember, ‘rebates’ should not be viewed as a permanent condition. We have seen the way our own government has tinkered around benefits and payments what will stop the EU from making a decision to do the same?

    • Mike Sivier April 22, 2018 at 11:32 pm - Reply

      £17 billion divided by 52 is £327 million, rounded up – not £3.3 billion. But our payment to the EU isn’t – or wasn’t – £17 billion. And rebates were only part of the payments back to the UK. Mostly we were benefiting from EU programmes. We were still a net contributor but by only around half as much as Mr Johnson suggested – £175 million per week. I wrote an article about it.

  3. Barry Davies September 18, 2017 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    According to ONS figures we were paying 10.13 million a day in 2013, because the eu increased the amount due to us doing better than the rest of the eu. This was expected to rise to double that figure by this year. So 20.26 million a day.

    • Mike Sivier September 24, 2017 at 11:56 pm - Reply

      Proof please – actual figures that are current will do.

  4. NMac September 19, 2017 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Johnson wouldn’t know truth if it hit him in the face. Isn’t he the character who was once fired from his job as a journalist for telling lies? Say no more.

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