Jacob Rees-Mogg: £350m for the NHS after Brexit was a promise and we must keep it
Jacob Rees-Mogg has urged the Government to follow through on the controversial pledge to hand £350m a week to the NHS after Britain quits the EU.
The pro-Brexit MP said: "We promised £350 million for the NHS so we must deliver it."
The vow, which was painted on the side of the Vote Leave battle bus during the referendum, is widely credited with helping to deliver the Brexit vote.
The Government has been at pains to stress that it was not a firm commitment, and that the NHS will have to compete with other departments for any extra funding which flows from leaving the EU.
But at an event laying out a possible post-Brexit budget, the North East Somerset MP said politicians must not "hide behind the small print like some disreputable business".
He said the £18.2bn a year should be pumped into the NHS as soon as the UK has quit the bloc in 2019 because the cash is so urgently required.
“Although I did not want the £350 million figure used, it was used and the electors believe a promise was made,” Mr Rees-Mogg told the Economists for Free Trade event in central London today.
“Politicians cannot hide behind the small print like some disreputable businesses do, but must recognise that the commitment is accepted in broad terms not in pettifogging detail.
“We promised £350 million for the NHS so we must deliver it.”
Elsewhere, Mr Rees-Mogg argued the UK could benefit from a £135bn public finances windfall between 2020 and 2025 as a result of Brexit.
He said the Treasury should hike its spending on preparations for a no-deal Brexit from £250m to £500 and put aside £2bn just in case – although he argued the contingency will “probably not be needed”.
And he said the UK should cap stamp duty, cut corporation tax to 10%, suspend the tax on so-called 'non-doms' and cut tariffs on some imports to zero after Brexit.