Anti-Brexit campaigners have launched their own big, red bus – but were almost left red-faced.
The “Is It Worth It?” campaign claims the cost of leaving the EU will be £2,000m per week, which they have based on a leaked Whitehall assessment of the impact of Brexit.
Copying the Vote Leave bus from the EU referendum campaign, the pro-Remain group emblazoned the side of a red bus with the figure before driving the vehicle through Westminster on Wednesday.
Although those opposed to Brexit have so far failed to reverse the Leave vote, the bus itself was forced to divert before performing an about-turn after almost becoming stuck down a narrow street.
Suggesting leaving the EU could be a literal car crash, Labour MP Chuka Umunna told Sky News at the campaign’s launch near Parliament: “Of course, Boris Johnson said £350m extra per week would go to the NHS if you voted to Leave.
“That is clearly not happening and, in fact, what we know as a matter of fact now that the reality of Brexit is coming into view after that vote, is that actually it is going to cost public services billions of pounds.
“And that is the idea behind this bus.”
Mr Umunna said Mr Johnson’s Vote Leave bus promising more funds for hospitals after Brexit was “a big fantasy”, while the slogan on the “Is It Worth It?” bus is “a reality”.
The bus will make 33 stops on an eight-day tour of the UK, with the campaign crowdfunded through 700 individuals making an average contribution of £24 each.
The side of the bus asks: “Brexit to cost £2,000m a week says the Government’s own report. Is it worth it?”
The figure is based on the Government’s own Brexit impact assessment that, according to a leak, suggests leaving the EU – even with a comprehensive free trade agreement with the bloc – will see UK growth 5% lower over the next 15 years compared to current forecasts.
The Government have said the analysis does not take into account ministers’ desired outcome from the Brexit negotiations.
Tom Brake MP, the Liberal Democrats’ Brexit spokesperson, told Sky News: “What we’re trying to do is to remind people this is not a done deal.
“People are entitled to have their say on the final deal that the Government strike with the EU.
“The Government’s own reports confirm that, whichever deal the Government strike – whether it’s a Canada-style deal, a Norway-style deal or, indeed, World Trade Organisation rules – this is bad for every single sector of the UK economy and every single region of the country.”