LETTER: Debate rages on payments to EU

Sheffield town hall flag at full mast. 6/6/14 D Day
Sheffield town hall flag at full mast. 6/6/14 D Day

Is it a lie that £350 million of UK money goes to the EU each week?

In the Postbag last week, Andrew Parker vents his anger in claims that Boris Johnson lied about the £350m, and also that Donald Trump is a liar, but the truth, I feel, is merely that Mr Parker disagrees with their politics.

Politics is necessarily adversarial where there are strong differences of opinion. However, in political debate we should all be very cautious about calling others liars or even describing their words as lies, as often it is instead a matter of how the facts are interpreted.

The facts were ostensibly checked during the EU referendum debate by the BBC in its Reality Check series. According to this our weekly contribution due to the EU is £360m, but we currently get a £85m rebate. Taking back control of our money we would have £275m plus per week to spend how we like, and it could all go on the NHS if that became our priority above subsidies and grants.

In my view Andrew Parker offers no facts or reasons to support any of his assertions, so to what extent is he being truthful when he declares that the UK never has sent £350m to the EU and that to say so is a lie?

In pedantic terms the net UK contribution isn’t that precise number. However I feel Mr Parker also seeks to imply that there is no serious political issue about payments to the EU.

A total of £350m a week ‘sent’ to the EU may not be exact, but as a campaign slogan it is close to the truth, and in detailed debate was made clear to be a gross figure. The point is that we relinquish control over this money. As a mature democracy why do we want to give control of this, or of anything else, to an undemocratic EU elite? That is the question ‘remain’ advocates consistently fail to address and is why, in my opinion, they lost the argument and the vote.

Peter Beardwood

Marsh Lane, New Mills