Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”had it not been for the fact that we came out of the European Medicines Agency and the MHRA was now totally free to decide how fast to approve a vaccine. We wouldn’t have been able to do that vaccine rollout so fast … Brexit helped save Lives”

Boris Johnson, Former Prime Minister, TalkTV

Facts

During an interview with Nadine Dorries on her TalkTV show, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the pace of Britain’s vaccine roll-out, which he said was speedier because the UK had left the EU, adding that “Brexit helped save lives”. 

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.”

On 27 July, former Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave evidence to the official Covid inquiry. He stated that government resources were diverted away from pandemic planning to brace for the threat of a “disorganised Brexit”. He added that the UK planning attitude was entirely “geared towards how to clear up after a disaster, not prevent it”. 

Verdict

Another lie from Boris Johnson. 

The UK’s vaccine rollout had nothing to do with Brexit. Vaccines were procured whilst the UK was still a member of the single market and the EMA. The vaccine rollout was approved under an EU regulation which was available to all EU member states. Boris Johnson was wrong to say that the UK was able to enact its vaccine rollout due to Brexit, as the UK was still in a transition period and operating under EU rules at the time when vaccinations were procured and authorised.

This is one of Boris Johnson’s favourite lies and one which has been repeatedly shown to be incorrect on this website (see here, here and here). 

We sent a letter to Johnson’s personal and office address offering him the chance to respond. The letter was received (and signed for) by both, but no reply. 

Client Journalism: Interviewer Nadine Dorries was a former cabinet colleague of Boris Johnson. She did not challenge the former Prime Minister’s lie. Rupert Murdoch’s new media outlet TalkTV is developing  a new form of client journalism where political allies can interview each other without challenge. 

We wrote to TalkTV showing the channel the above commentary and offering them the chance to respond. As of yet, we have received no reply.

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