Dear Chancellor, the Autumn Statement must include £350m a week for the NHS

'Anything else will be a betrayal of the wishes of the British people,' progressive MPs claim


A group of 41 progressive MPs have called on Philip Hammond to uphold the Vote Leave promise of £350m extra a week for the NHS.

In a letter, they argue that since the government claims to have heard the message of the referendum ‘loud and clear,’ it must accept its mandate to realise the ‘single most visible promise of the Leave campaign.’

Led by Chuka Umunna, the chair of Vote Leave Watch, they call on Hammond to include an additional £18.2bn a year for the NHS in his autumn statement, pointing to the fact that Leave campaigners — including cabinet ministers Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel — drove around the country in the Brexit bus and took part in photo ops and press conferences featuring the pledge.

‘Anything else will be a betrayal of the wishes of the British people,’ they argue.

Here is the full text of the letter:

“Dear Chancellor

We believe in a Britain with an excellent, well-funded public sector that provides a world-class service to the British people, pays its hard-working staff well and treats them with respect.

This was the vision of Britain promised by your cabinet colleagues who campaigned for a Leave vote in the EU referendum. Vote Leave promised that, if Britain left the EU, £350m a week extra would be spent on the NHS. They travelled the country in a bus which said: “We send the EU £350 million a week let’s fund our NHS instead.” In the press conference suite at their London headquarters, a large sign read: “Let’s give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week.”

The Foreign Secretary, the Secretary of State for International Trade, the Secretary of State for the Environment, the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for International Development all appeared in photo opportunities featuring these messages. They made a very clear promise to the British people, and it is clear that a very large number of people believed this promise.

In your speech to Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, you said that the message of the referendum result had been “received, loud and clear” by the government. Members of the government talk of the “mandate” from the voters for Brexit.

We accept the verdict of the British people. Yet it is clear that, if this mandate is to mean anything, it must include the single most visible promise of the Leave campaign – spending £350 million more a week on the NHS.

In just under a month, you will present your first Autumn Statement. We are calling on you to commit to increase national NHS spending by £350 million a week – that is £18.2 billion a year – as soon as this money becomes available by leaving the European Union. This additional funding must be over and above the amount that is currently planned to be spent on the National Health Service.

Anything else will be a betrayal of the wishes of the British people. We challenge you, when you stand up in the House of Commons on November 23rd, to show us the money and commit to Vote Leave’s promise; or explain why you cannot, and why your cabinet colleagues so cynically misled the British people.”

Yours sincerely,

Chuka Umunna, Chair of Vote Leave Watch
Tom Brake, Patron of Vote Leave Watch
Norman Lamb, Patron of Vote Leave Watch
Emma Reynolds, Patron of Vote Leave Watch
Rushanara Ali
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
Kevin Baron
Tom Blenkinsop
Ben Bradshaw
Dawn Butler
Vernon Coaker
Mary Creagh
Stella Creasy
Julie Elliott
Chris Evans
Mike Gapes
Lilian Greenwood
David Hanson
Carolyn Harris
Tristram Hunt
Graham Jones
Stephen Kinnock
Peter Kyle
Caroline Lucas
Holly Lynch
Seema Malhortra
Conor McGinn
Alison McGovern
Ian Murray
Melanie Onn
Toby Perkins
Bridget Philippson
Rachel Reeves
Gavin Shuker
Ruth Smeeth
Angela Smith
Owen Smith
Wes Streeting
Anna Turley
Phil Wilson
John Woodcock
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6 Responses to “Dear Chancellor, the Autumn Statement must include £350m a week for the NHS”

  1. Alex from Carlisle

    Progressive MPs pretending to give a toss about the wishes of the British people. Bless.

  2. Mick

    Dear Left,

    We’re not out of the EU yet! And never shall be, with the likes of most of you wanting to reverse Brexit, for being ‘invalid’!

    It was only a protest vote, according to those Remoaners, so thus fit to be ignored.

    ..Just like you! Now get back to the ratholes you came from and stop bothering Democracy. We already had our say and our say trumps yours.

    The 52%

  3. Chris B

    @ Alex – I guess your comment means that you suspect the signatories of this letter have an ulterior motive, that motive being to cast doubt on the result of the refurendem as a whole? And I think this is probably right tbh. But does that necessarily mean the point of the letter is incorrect? If anything, I think this point should be being made most strongly to the PM by supporters of Brexit rather than those against.
    I think the problem now is that Brexit has become an end in itself, whereas surely the purpose of that Brexit decision was a belief by more people than not that it will improve the lives of British people, and a stronger NHS was one of those main benefits that were highlighted.
    So if this letter didn’t exist and we choose to ignore this £350 million NHS promise, the next question would be: how many of the other identified benefits, which were used presumably by every voter in their cost/benefit analysis of the question (!), can we sweep away before that analysis becomes meaningless and people would need to reconsider their thoughts?
    If you don’t think people have done that individual cost/benefit analysis themselves, well then I’d say you were clearly anti-democracy to insinuate that people don’t make rational decisions based on information available 🙂
    Or it might be that all benefits highlighted in the campaign for the majority people are actually irrelevant, and the decision taken was actually no free movement, at any cost. Or maybe the information available was tainted in some way, say seen through only the prism of a newspaper or other indirect delivery mechanism.
    This is a complicated business, this politics stuff.

  4. Mick

    “I think the problem now is that Brexit has become an end in itself…….”!

    Wooo, Left! If you’ve worked that out so late in the day, no wonder you’re behind the curve in so many other ways. You people work so hard to push agenda that when Brexit means Brexit, you don’t notice.

    It’s what we get when we come out which is the tease. But even there, we could have both access to the single market AND the wider free market. Remoaners want us to believe both are the same but they are not. The Commonwealth and Far East economies are gagging for trade deals with us and, with British-based top banks having masses more resources on top of our own economy, there’s still all to play for.

  5. Chris B

    @ Mick – “You people…”
    Who people? ‘Me’ people? I’m just someone who read an article on a website and left a comment to try and make a bit more sense of the world. I’m not ‘the Left’ or a campaigner in any way.
    When you also say:
    “If you’ve worked that out so late in the day, no wonder you’re behind the curve in so many other ways.”
    What does that even mean? I guess you mean that the ‘you people’ you mention (remain campaigners I guess, not me) didn’t figure out that the country just wants to leave regardless of cost? Because I don’t think that’s true…

  6. Mick

    If you think I’m being overly hard, then I’m sorry.I do hear a lot in that reply coming from the same old Remoaners, so I apologise if you’re not the usual suspects.

    A plebiscite, by nature, must be simplistic. DO we come out? Yes? Right, HOW DO we come out? That question came rightfully and justly second.

    And it is complicated, which is why it wasn’t asked. Do you want your car fixed, mate? Yes? Right, tell me how to do it!

    ‘I’m not the mechanic!’

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