Boris Johnson has said he stands by the claim on the Vote Leave bus – and said EU membership would now cost even more.
Appearing on Radio 4’s Today programme, the prime minister claimed that staying in the European Union would cost £1 billion a month.
Johnson was asked why he was not going to seek an extension despite the law requesting that he does so if he cannot get a deal.
He said: “All I’m trying to say is I think it would be a mistake to keep the UK bound in beyond the time people want to come out, and at a cost of course – and this is Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal – at a cost of a billion pounds a month.”
As presenter Nick Robinson pointed out those numbers are “disputed”, Johnson said: “Well I don’t know this is the figure I was given.”
“Presumably like the £350 million on side of the bus,” pointed out Robinson.
“Well, alright, since you want to drag that in, and actually were we actually obliged to stay in the EU we’d need a bigger bus.
“The figure would go up and I think it would be a rising £400 million gross.”
That is despite the fact even Boris Johnson has played down the £350 million claims by using the figure of £250 million a week in speeches and social media posts.
Even that £250m figure – which works out at 30p per person per day – does not take into account the billions each year the UK receives back through schemes to fund poorer areas and farmers.
One said: “It’s ridiculous that Boris Johnson gets away with saying our continued membership of the EU is costing £1 billion pounds a month as if that’s just a cost to the UK. It isn’t. In return we have access to the single market, worth £bns, among many other benefits.”
Jennifer Rankin tweeted: “Not true, because nobody knows, as long-term EU budget yet to be agreed. And UK as member state would have a veto.”