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By Women in Westminster

EXCL Theresa May spent thousands on Facebook ads promoting her speech attacking MPs

EXCL Theresa May spent thousands on Facebook ads promoting her speech attacking MPs

Emilio Casalicchio

3 min read

Theresa May spent tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money promoting her battle-cry to the nation accusing MPs of trying to block Brexit, PoliticsHome can reveal.


The Government paid between £12,000 and £30,000 for four Facebook ads pushing the controversial speech she made from Downing Street a week ago.

The cost was part of an expensive publicity blitz Downing Street embarked on in a desperate bid to promote the Brexit deal Mrs May clinched with Brussels, according to a new analysis by the People’s Vote campaign.

Labour MP Ian Murray lashed out at the eye-watering publicity spend - worth hundreds of thousands of pounds - and said promoting the PM’s attack on Parliament was “a new low”.

Mrs May was forced to backtrack after she last week accused MPs of doing “everything possible to avoid making a choice” on the UK's departure from the EU.

The comments sparked a wave of anger from parliamentarians furious at being pitted against the nation at a time when many have received threats from voters.

Ministers spent between £80,000 and £300,000 on Facebook ads promoting the Brexit deal, including the four that featured a video of Mrs May's address.

But the ads have since been switched to ‘inactive’ - suggesting the PM had second thoughts about pumping them through Facebook to Brits around the country.

Some £700,000 has been spent since mid-December last year by the Cabinet Office on two agencies - Manning Gottlieb OMD and Engine Partners UK - to push Brexit content from the Government.

PoliticsHome understands the spend includes promotion for the agreement the PM won in November, as well as awareness-raising about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

The deal has been twice rejected in Parliament and Mrs May said this week it still has insufficient support among MPs to be brought back for a third attempt in the Commons.

'DANGEROUS DEMAGOGUERY'

Mr Murray - speaking on behalf of the People’s Vote campaign - told PoliticsHome: “The amount of taxpayers' money that has been wasted on Brexit is appalling.

“Spending money to back a deal that has been decisively rejected twice by Parliament is bad enough, but spending to promote the Prime Minister's attack on Parliament itself is a new low.”

He added: “The Government is playing with fire by promoting this kind of dangerous demagoguery.

“Elected members of Parliament will not be bullied or brow-beaten into supporting the Prime Minister's wretched Brexit deal without consulting the British people first.”

A Government spokesperson said: “Communicating government policy effectively to the public is a core function of the Civil Service.

“Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority and we continue to communicate with the public through our public awareness campaign on how EU exit might impact them."
 

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