Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“Freedom to roll-out one of the world’s fastest vaccine programmes”

Suella Braverman, Home Secretary, X Post


The Home Secretary listed “Freedom to roll-out one of the world’s fastest vaccine programmes” among a list of “successes” in the three years since Britain left the European Union. 

This claim was false, as established by Full Fact.

The UK had already put into law its own route for authorising vaccines before Brexit took effect, meaning the UK did not have to rely on the European Medicines Agency. Even if the UK was still a member of the EU, the UK regulator would have been able to take this decision on its own because EU law already allowed it. The EU legislation took effect in the UK in 2012, long before Brexit was on the cards.

A UK government press release from 23 November 2020 spelt this out in terms. “If a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, […] becomes available before the end of the transition period, EU legislation which we have implemented via Regulation 174 of the Human Medicines Regulations allows the MHRA to temporarily authorise the supply of a medicine or vaccine, based on public health need.”

Britain was still bound by the EMA regulations when the vaccine rollout began in December 2020.

The head of the MHRA, June Raine, clarified the situation when she said: “we have been able to authorise the supply of this vaccine using provisions under European Law which exist until 1st of January [2021].” 

The claim was made in a campaigning video which made a number of other dubious claims about the benefits of Brexit.


The Home Secretary was repeating a false claim made by Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and many others. It was a cynical lie.

We emailed Suella Braverman’s office offering her the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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