EU referendum campaign 'misleading voters'

Video report by ITV News' Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Both sides of EU referendum campaign have been heavily criticised in a scathing report by a cross-party group of MPs.

The Commons Treasury Committee - which includes MPs on both sides - said Vote Leave's "core" campaign claim that a vote to leave the EU would deliver a £350 million-a-week windfall was "highly misleading".

The report also said the Remain side's claim that Treasury analysis showed "families would be £4,300 a year worse off" if Britain left the EU was "likely to be misconstrued by voters" and had "probably confused them".

The Remain side's claim that families would be £4,300 a year worse off if Britain left the EU was also criticised. Credit: ITV News

But Vote Leave were guilty of "by far the most serious" offence, the committee chairman Tory MP Andrew Tyrie said.

He called on them to repaint their battle bus, which carries the slogan "We send the EU £350 million a week - let's fund our NHS instead."

The Vote Leave claim that Britain's EU contribution of £350 million a week could be spent on the NHS and schools failed to take account of the £152 million a week it received back through the EU budget and the British rebate, the committee said.

Misleading claims by the 'Vote Leave' campaign

  • Membership of the EU costs £350 million a week, a windfall amount that can be spent on the NHS, which fails to take account of the rebate.

  • Boris Johnson said EU membership hiked food bills by £400 a year because of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but failed to spell out how the farming sector would be supported after Brexit.

  • Farming Minister George Eustice said farmers would get "as much support - or perhaps even more - as they get now" in the event of Brexit, which "called into question by the multiple purposes to which the budget savings from Brexit have been allocated".

  • The Leave.EU website states that the Common Agricultural Policy adds around £400 to a family's living costs every year, which the committee said is "based on out of date research".

  • It also said suggestions the money would be "saved by Brexit" are based on assumptions the Government would unilaterally eliminate all tariffs on agricultural goods on leaving the EU; and that it would not replace any of the subsidies and price support currently provided to UK farmers.

The Commitee Chairman Tory MP Andrew Tyrie called on Vote Leave to repaint their battle bus. Credit: ITV News

Misleading claims by the 'Remain' campaign

  • Lord Rose from the Stronger In campaign claimed households benefit by £3,000 from EU membership, which is misleading because it does not spell out the alternative arrangements under which those benefits would be lost.

  • Stronger In claims that "If we left, the cost of our imports could rise by at least £11 billion - leaving families out of pocket as prices rise".

  • The committee said the figures relied on the assumption Britain would fail to reach any trade agreement with the EU and would keep the same tariff regime currently set by the EU.

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