Former Prime Minister Theresa May has defended her controversial Brexit bus, saying the slogan was right.
Ms May appeared on the ‘The Rest is Politics’ podcast, when she spoke about both the ‘Brexit bus’ and ‘Go home vans’ which were masterminded during her time as Home Secretary.
The podcast, hosted by former Labour press secretary Alastair Campbell and ex Tory minister Rory Stewart, saw Ms May admit the vans “were wrong” but defend the controversial slogan on the ‘Brexit bus’.
The Vote Leave campaign became synonymous with the red bus which was emblazoned with the slogan: “We send the EU £350 million a week – let’s fund our NHS instead”.
Controversy abounded at the figure, with some claiming it was incorrect.
Talking about the Brexit bus slogan, Ms May said: “When I look back at the referendum, you mentioned Boris Johnson as an individual who’d led the Brexit campaign.
“I don’t see the vote so much as being about an individual or about the figure on the side of a bus – and that was a figure it was claimed that the extra money could go in the NHS.
“As it happens when I put the extra money into the NHS I think I’m right in saying it was slightly more than was on the figure on the side of the bus.”
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In 2021, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed the £350 million figure at the heart of the controversy was “a slight underestimate”.
While being grilled by the Commons Liaison Committee, Mr Johnson brought up the infamous bus.
He said: “It is commonly asserted, for instance, that when we put the figure of £350 million a week on the side of a bus that went around this country, causing a great deal of hoo-ha, that that was erroneous and that it did not reflect the true figure.”
He added: “This was a figure that related to the gross sum that the UK gave to the EU budget. It was subject to lively controversy during the referendum campaign five years ago as you’ll remember,” he said.
“Actually, it turned out, if anything, to be a slight underestimate and by this year the gross figure will be considerably higher.”
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