Progressive MPs write to Hammond calling on him to honour £350m pledge

Today, 41 progressive MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party are writing to Philip Hammond, calling on him to commit to spend the £350 million a week on the NHS promised by Vote Leave campaigners at the Autumn Statement in a month’s time. They say this funding must be over and above what is already promised to the NHS.  

The letter has been organised by the Vote Leave Watch campaign, which aims to hold Leavers to account for the promises they made during the referendum campaign. The #ShowUsTheMoney campaign will run over the next month to put pressure on the Government to commit to the £350 million promise.

The MPs point to the fact that Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel were all members of the Vote Leave campaign, for which the £350 million pledge was a key plank of their manifesto for Brexit.

They say:

“In your speech to Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, you said that the message of the referendum result had been “received, loud and clear” by the government. Members of the government talk of the “mandate” from the voters for Brexit.

“We accept the verdict of the British people. Yet it is clear that, if this mandate is to mean anything, it must include the single most visible promise of the Leave campaign – spending £350 million more a week on the NHS.

“In just under a month, you will present your first Autumn Statement. We are calling on you to commit to increase national NHS spending by £350 million a week – that is £18.2 billion a year – as soon as this money becomes available by leaving the European Union. This additional funding must be over and above the amount that is currently planned to be spent on the National Health Service.

“Anything else will be a betrayal of the wishes of the British people. We challenge you, when you stand up in the House of Commons on November 23rd, to show us the money and commit to Vote Leave’s promise; or explain why you cannot, and why your cabinet colleagues so cynically misled the British people.” 

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, Chair of Vote Leave Watch, said:

“The message to Philip Hammond is loud and clear – this Brexit government will not be able to run away from the promises of Brexit campaigners.

“He has a month to work out how the Government are going to find the money to keep this promise. If he can’t I hope his pro-Leave colleagues will explain why they pulled the wool over the eyes of so many voters during the campaign.”

/ends

The full letter and list of signatories is below: 

Dear Chancellor

We believe in a Britain with an excellent, well-funded public sector that provides a world-class service to the British people, pays its hard-working staff well and treats them with respect.

This was the vision of Britain promised by your cabinet colleagues who campaigned for a Leave vote in the EU referendum. Vote Leave promised that, if Britain left the EU, £350m a week extra would be spent on the NHS. They travelled the country in a bus which said: “We send the EU £350 million a week let’s fund our NHS instead.” In the press conference suite at their London headquarters, a large sign read: “Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week.”

The Foreign Secretary, the Secretary of State for International Trade, the Secretary of State for the Environment, the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for International Development all appeared in photo opportunities featuring these messages. They made a very clear promise to the British people, and it is clear that a very large number of people believed this promise.

In your speech to Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, you said that the message of the referendum result had been “received, loud and clear” by the government. Members of the government talk of the “mandate” from the voters for Brexit.

We accept the verdict of the British people. Yet it is clear that, if this mandate is to mean anything, it must include the single most visible promise of the Leave campaign – spending £350 million more a week on the NHS.

In just under a month, you will present your first Autumn Statement. We are calling on you to commit to increase national NHS spending by £350 million a week – that is £18.2 billion a year – as soon as this money becomes available by leaving the European Union. This additional funding must be over and above the amount that is currently planned to be spent on the National Health Service.

Anything else will be a betrayal of the wishes of the British people. We challenge you, when you stand up in the House of Commons on November 23rd, to show us the money and commit to Vote Leave’s promise; or explain why you cannot, and why your cabinet colleagues so cynically misled the British people.

Yours sincerely,

Chuka Umunna, Chair of Vote Leave Watch
Tom Brake, Patron of Vote Leave Watch
Norman Lamb, Patron of Vote Leave Watch
Emma Reynolds, Patron of Vote Leave Watch
 
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