Jeremy Corbyn criticises the Government's £9.3m pro-EU leaflet

Posted On: 
13th April 2016

Jeremy Corbyn has hit out at the Government's decision to spend £9.3 million of taxpayers' money on a pro-EU leaflet being sent to every home in Britain.

Jeremy Corbyn has criticised the Government's £9.3m pro-EU leaflets
PA Images

The Labour leader's spokesman said ministers should be taking "an even-handed approach" to informing the public about the decision they will take on 23 June.

His comments suggest Mr Corbyn wants to see the same amount of public money given to the pro-Brexit campaign.

Pro-EU campaign sends leaflets to 10m homes

Taxpayers to fund £9.3 million pro-EU Government publicity blitz

The spokesman said: "Jeremy is of the view that there should have been an even approach to the information so people can make an informed decision."

The surprise intervention comes as the Labour leader prepares to make a major pro-EU speech in London tomorrow.

His spokesman's comments also mark a change in tack by Mr Corbyn, who turned down the chance to criticise the controversial advertising blitz when asked about it on Sunday.

He would only say: "I think everybody should be fully informed before a vote is taken. There should be a proper debate on everything that is taken and I hope there will be an equality of airtime and debate so everyone can understand the implications of what is of course a very important decision and I hope labour supporters will hope to remain."

Fury erupted last week when the Government announced the leaflet plan, with the anti-EU camp claiming it was an abuse of power which gave their opponents an unfair advantage.

In Prime Minister's Questions today, David Cameron was again forced to defend the leaflets under pressure from Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The Tory MP said: "Over 200,000 economic migrants came from the European Union in the period for which we’ve got figures. And yet the propaganda sheet sent out to the British people claims we maintain control of our borders. Have we withdrawn from the free movement of people, or is that sheet simply untrue?"

Mr Cameron said: "The truth is this, economic migrants that come to the European Union do not have the right to come to the UK, they are not European nationals, they are nationals of Pakistan, or nationals of Morocco or nationals of Turkey. None of those people have the right.

"And so this is very important, and frankly this is why it's important we do send information to households, so they can see the truth about what's being proposed.

"What my Right Honourable Friend has just put forward is classic of the kind of scare story we get. Britain has borders, Britain will keep its borders, we’ve got the best of both worlds."

Elsewhere, eurosceptic Tory MP James Wharton told the BBC’s World at One a colleague had lamented that the leaflet was not “sufficiently absorbent for the use to which they wanted to put it”.