It’s common for politicians to exaggerate and sometimes entirely make up campaign promises. But outright admitting an explicit campaign promise was a lie hours after the vote is irregularly bold.
That’s exactly what Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and the Leave movement of the Brexit vote, did on Friday.
A major claim of the Leave movement said the 350 million pounds (about $477 million) per week that were sent to the European Union would instead be put toward the National Health Service. Britain voted Thursday to leave the EU with a 52 percent majority.
But Farage said in a TV interview with Good Morning Britain that the promise was a “mistake” that the Leave campaign made, though he personally didn’t say it. But Leave campaigners have driven a tour bus across the country with that figure on its side. It’s not even clear how the campaign landed on the 350 million pound figure, which some people have called “absurd.”
“It was one of the mistakes the Leave campaign made,” Farage said.
“Well, wait a minute, that was one of your adverts,” journalist Susanna Reid interrupted.
The two went back and forth for a couple minutes, with Reid asking what other claims by the Leave campaign people would find out were false. Farage insisted that though he couldn’t guarantee where the money would go, it would be extra money into Britain’s economy that otherwise would’ve gone to the EU.
“You’re saying that after 17 million people have voted for Leave — I don’t know how many people voted on the basis of that advert, but it was a huge part of the propaganda — you’re now saying that’s a mistake?” Reid asks.
“We have a 10 billion pound a year, 34 million pound a day feather bed, that is going to be free money that we can spend, on the NHS, on schools or whatever it is,” Farage said.
People were predictably angry about Farage’e statements.