Brexiteer: I never said you’d be better off from Brexit

PUBLISHED: 10:14 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:26 30 January 2019

Lord Digby Jones on BBC Newsnight. Photograph: BBC.

Lord Digby Jones on BBC Newsnight. Photograph: BBC.

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A Brexiteer has claimed that he never maintained that Britons would be better off as a result of Brexit.

Lord Digby Jones was in a debate with Femi Oluwole on BBC’s Newsnight when he turned to the Our Future Our Choice campaigner to refute claims that Brexit was about the economy being better off.

Oluwole said: “No-deal is not what people voted for. Back in 2016 every single Brexit campaigner said we could get a better deal than with the EU.

“In fact the entire narrative was ‘they need us more than we need them’. It was propagated on the idea we were going to get a good deal.”

However Lord Digby snapped back and dismissed Oluwole’s claims.

“No they didn’t!” he responded. “I actually campaigned for Brexit and I made it very clear in every speech I gave we would be economically worse off.”

WATCH: DUP tell people to ‘go to the chippy’ after issue of food shortages

“Regarding what you said about how you said that in every single speech we would be economically worse-off if Brexit happens, that is not the narrative people were sold in 2016.”

While Digby wanted to talk about the government leaflet delivered to every household ahead of the EU referendum campaign, Oluwole referred to the £350m claim plastered on the Vote Leave bus.

Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis intervened to probe Digby further.

“You haven’t addressed the question about the bus, you haven’t addressed the question about the £350m.”

“What’s the question about the bus?” asked a confused Digby.

“You know the question about the bus!” Maitlis told the Brexiteer.

“I wasn’t part of the official campaign so I don’t see why I’m defending it.”

“You’re backing off!” laughed Maitlis.

WATCH: Having no food will ‘do the country good’, says Brexiteer

“No, I never have backed off in my life. I will give you that answer which is I would tell you in 5 years, probably less, there will be £350 million a week more available to the NHS because we are not paying into Europe.”

“That is not what the poster said!” responded Maitlis.

Oluwole added: “Does that not give the message there will be more money for the UK if we leave the EU? You just said we would be economically worse off, and then you’re saying we would be economically better off.”

While the pair continued to argue, viewers were still dumbfounded by the claims that Brexiteers including the former head of the CBI now believe they had never portrayed Brexit as the UK being better off.

Many on Twitter referenced a BBC interview where the Brexiteer said there would not be economic pain and if there were job losses there would be very few.

Jim Cornelius tweeted: “Digby Jones just said he always said we’d be economically worse off. Did he not say not a single job will be lost due to Brexit?”

Sarah Ludford said: “The dishonesty of Brexiters summed up in one man, Digby Jones. 2016: ‘not one job is at risk from Brexit’. 2019: ‘I always said we’d be economically worse off from Brexit’. As it’s before 8am, I cannot express what I really think of this scoundrel.”

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