The Brexit campaign’s “false” suggestion that leaving the EU would give Britain more cash to spend on flood defences was yesterday criticised by a Leeds MP.
A targeted Facebook ad used by Vote Leave during the 2016 referendumand released by the social media firm to an inquiry on fake news highlighted the damage done by storms Eva and Desmond and suggested Britain would have more cash for flood defences if it left the EU.
Britain was awarded £50m from the EU solidarity fund to help it deal with 2015 floods, which caused devastation in Leeds, but the figure was lowered to £15m after debts, the UK rebate and the cost of bidding were taken into account.
Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves spoke out as the Commons Digital and Culture Committee warned that fake news has plunged democracy into crisis with voters being manipulated by campaigns of hate and disinformation.
The Leeds West MP said: “The Vote Leave campaign told the people of Leeds that they could use the money that we pay to be members of being in the EU single market to instead pay for flood defences. But now we know that just like the money for the NHS this was a lie.
“Vote Leave peddled a load of myths and now in Leeds we are left with a second rate flood defence scheme as the Government once again let’s down the north - as they have with our train service.”
Former Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings said the committee were “charlatans”.
Last week, the Government rejected a flood prevention plan designed for Leeds, instead offering a proposal which politicians said would not prevented the devastation of the 2015 Boxing Day deluge.