Boris Johnson sets out vision of Brexit

Letter Owen Smith

The claim - "we send the European Union £350m a week, let's fund our NHS instead" - was painted on the side of the Vote Leave campaign bus during the 2016 referendum campaign.

The foreign secretary also rounded on critics of Brexit "who think we are going to bottle it" and warned so-called Remoaners against treating the 17.4m Brexit voters as "fools".

The watchdog said the article "confused" the size of the UK's annual gross and net contributions to the EU's budget.

The UK Statistic Authority has accused Boris Johnson of misusing official figures when he revived a controversial claim that £350m a week could go to the NHS after Brexit.

"Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly 350 million pounds (475 million USA dollars) per week".

In the article, Mr Johnson wrote: "We would not expect to pay for access to their markets any more than they would expect to pay for access to ours".

"It would be a fine thing as many of us have pointed out if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make the most of new technology", Johnson added.

The Brexit secretary, David Davis, has also been clear that he never campaigned on that point.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose opposition party fared well in the general election, said through a spokesman that Johnson's Brexit views exposed the deep rifts within May's Conservative government.

But he has been accused of "backseat driving" by Home Secretary Amber Rudd over the Brexit blueprint put forward in the column.

He said the number quoted did not include the rebate that Britain receives from the European Union, nor did it include payments from Brussels to support, for example, agriculture and scientific research.

If the Prime Minister has any sense, she will present a draft of her planned speech to the whole Cabinet this week and ask for the full support of each and every colleague - including Mr Johnson.

"I don't want him managing the Brexit process, what we have got is Theresa May managing the process, driving the auto".

Shortly after the article was published online, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson tweeted: "On the day of a terror attack where Britons were maimed, just hours after the threat level is raised, our only thoughts should be on service".

The Foreign Secretary publicly declared he is "all behind Theresa for a glorious Brexit" after the 4,000-word assessment of Brexit fuelled speculation about his ambitions. "She is driving the vehicle - to continue the allegory - and I'm going to make sure as far as I am concerned and the rest of the cabinet are concerned that I'm going to help her do that".

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