Brexit outrage: How £9.3m of taxpayers’ money was spent on REMAIN propaganda – NOT the NHS

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Liberal Democrat candidates will be able to appeal to pro Remain voters by putting “stop Brexit” on the ballot paper for the December 12 general election. The Electoral Commission allowed party officials to register the phrase “Liberal Democrats – to stop Brexit” on the voting slip. Jo Swinson‘s party said the move will help candidates in constituencies across the country to attract voters who agree with their policy of revoking Article 50 to stop Brexit.

The move was sparked fury online and offline, with many accusing the Lib Dems of being undemocratic and dividing the country even further.

It is not the first time the Electoral Commission allows pro-Remain propaganda to be printed, though.

In 2016, during the referendum campaign, David Cameron’s Government spent almost £10million of taxpayers’ money in the form of an official government brochure sent to every household, telling people to vote for membership.

A special website setting out the anti-Brexit case also went live as part of the £9.3 million advertising blitz.

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How £9.3million of taxpayers’ money was spent on REMAIN propaganda NOT the NHS (Image: GETTY)

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The Lib Dems will be able to appeal to Remain-backing voters by putting “stop Brexit” on the ballot (Image: GETTY)

The 16-page leaflet said that staying in the EU was essential for Britain’s prosperity and national security, and that leaving would have caused an economic crisis and made many goods more expensive.

The Leave campaign immediately accused Mr Cameron of ramping up its so-called “Project Fear” campaign.

Michael Gove accused the former Prime Minister of being “unfair” and spending millions of taxpayer’s money on pro-EU propaganda rather than putting the cash into the NHS.

Speaking to the BBC in April 2016, the Cabinet minister said: “I want a fair campaign, I want people to hear from both sides, but what I think is wrong is spending £9m of taxpayers’ money on one particular piece of one-sided propaganda.

“I think it is wrong that money that should be spent on priorities like the NHS is being spent on euro-propaganda.”

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Pro-EU leaflet (Image: GETTY)

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Cabinet Minister Michael Gove (Image: GETTY)

Boris Johnson, who at the time was London Mayor, also accused Mr Cameron of attempting to ensure the referendum was not a “fair fight”.

In a fundraising email for the Vote Leave group, the now Prime Minister said he was “staggered” the Government was using taxpayers’ cash to pay for “propaganda” leaflets.

He wrote: “The Government is losing the argument and it seems they don’t want a fair fight.

“They want to skew the debate, using tired old arguments that have long since been discredited. And they want to do it with your money.”

Mr Cameron defended himself against accusations of trying to rig the EU referendum.

Speaking to students at the University of Exeter, he said: “I don’t want anyone to go to the polls not knowing what the Government thinks, and I think that is money well spent.

“It is not, in my view, just legal – I think it is necessary and right.”

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Former Prime Minister David Cameron (Image: GETTY)

A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission also defended Mr Cameron’s move, saying: “The Electoral Commission is responsible for regulating the rules on spending in the run-up to the EU Referendum.

“The rules on spending apply during the regulated period which start on 15 April and ends on polling day, 23 June.

“The rules exclude spending that is met out of public funds, which includes spending by the government on the government information booklet.

“After the referendum on Scottish independence the Electoral Commission recommended that governments should conduct no taxpayer-funded advertising activity during the regulated period.

“However, Parliament decided not to put any legal restrictions on Government activity until 28 days before the poll, May 27.

“These are the same rules that were in place for other recent referendums.”


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