MPs demand Brexit cash for NHS

MP Mary Creagh.
MP Mary Creagh.

Wakefield’s MP has joined dozens of cross-party colleagues in demanding an extra £350 million a week in post-Brexit funding for the NHS.

The appeal, based on the high-profile pledge by the Vote Leave campaign, has been described as a chance for pro-Brexit ministers to pay up or “or admit that they can’t”.

A total of 41 MPs, including Mary Creagh, have signed a letter to the Chancellor, demanding that the funding commitment is included in next month’s Autumn Statement. They argue it was a key motivation in people’s decision to vote leave, and that the Government has a mandate to deliver on it.

The £350 million pledge was a central part of the Vote Leave campaign, and took pride of place on the group’s campaign bus. It was based on the UK’s average weekly contribution to the EU, but the campaign came under fire for failing to deduct Britain’s £74 million rebate.

More than £100 million of the remaining £276 million is paid back in the form of farming, research and regional infrastructure funds. Fellow signatory Angela Smith said it was vital the Government meets the NHS commitment, without affecting payments to these other sectors.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron and Halifax’s Holly Lynch also signed the Vote Leave Watch letter, alongside Chuka Umunna, Norman Lamb and Caroline Lucas.

Their appeal came as fellow Yorkshire MPs Hilary Benn and Dame Rosie Winterton pressed the Prime Minister on her plans for EU negotiations, following last week’s meeting of the European Council.

Ms Winterton asked whether the Government has plans to publish regional impact assessments on Brexit, while Mr Benn sought assurances that MPs will be given time to scrutinise any negotiating objectives. Mrs Mayreplied that Parliament will have “every opportunity to consider the various issues involved”.

The Treasury was approached for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.