What Does Boris Owe? FAQ

How was this calculated?

The sum is calculated by taking the gross British contribution to the European Union for the 2015 financial year, as estimated by the Treasury. This figure does not include the rebate or public sector receipts, and is most likely the basis of the Leave campaign's much-publicised figure of £350 million per week. The gross contribution calculates to approximately £563.82 per second. The amount shown is calculated from 7:21am on Friday 24th June 2016: the time that the official result was announced.

This calculation is rather lenient to the Leave campaign. Their estimation of the gross British contribution to the EU is approximately 3% more than the actual figures. Additionally – as the contribution is paid in euros – an adjusted figure taking into account the weakness of the pound since the referendum would be approximately 10% higher than that.

The Leave campaign only promised £100 million per week to the NHS!

As the background to this page demonstrates, Vote Leave proposed that the entire gross contribution should be spent on the NHS. Leaflets that were posted to every household free of charge as electoral communications, likewise, used similar wording.

We haven't left the EU yet!

This is true. However, proponents of leaving the EU did not waste any time in disavowing this promise; indeed, Nigel Farage disavowed the pledge almost an hour before the result was officially announced. In the weeks since the referendum, politicians affiliated with all of the Leave campaigns have been trying to either downplay or completely disavow the promise.

The word "let's" does not signify a promise.

The pledge was a clear statement of intent of what would happen if the referendum delivered a Leave vote. Resorting to technicalities did not work for either Labour or the Liberal Democrats when they broke their promises regarding tuition fees, and neither should technicalities be acceptable in this case.

The Leave campaign could not promise the money as it wasn't a general election!

This is another technicality designed to absolve those in the Leave campaign. While it is true that the Leave campaign could not promise the money, they did so regardless. Those in the Leave campaign, such as Andrea Leadsom, Boris Johnson, or Michael Gove, must be held accountable to this promise. It is heartening to see that Sarah Wollaston, the Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Health, has stated she intends to use the Select Committee to scrutinise these claims.