Britain could be just days away from Brexit, but deal or no deal, the result will be nothing like what the Vote Leave campaign backed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove promised people in the referendum.
Here are the five biggest broken promises from Vote Leave’s manifesto and website.
1 Leaving will be “a careful change, not a sudden step”
So much for careful – the government’s rush to trigger formal negotiations after the referendum means we now risk crashing out by default on 29 March. In fact Vote Leave promised the exact opposite, saying “no rational government would immediately begin any legal process to withdraw so there is no issue of an immediate use of Article 50”.
2 £350m a week to spend on what we want
Brexit has yet to save us a single penny – instead it’s costing £500m a week and rising for no discernible benefit. Unfortunately while the £350m figure on Vote Leave’s red bus was made up, the costs of Brexit are all too real, with 218,000 jobs lost already.
3 Membership of “a free trade zone stretching all the way to the Russian border”
There was never a free trade zone “stretching all the way from Iceland to the Russian border” as promised in the Vote Leave manifesto, and there still won’t be one after Brexit. Instead, we will lose our membership of the world’s largest free trade zone, the Single Market, costing the country £100 billion a year.
4 New trade deals “much faster than the EU slowcoach”
Vote Leave promised new trade deals with everyone from India to Japan to the USA, but Tory trade secretary Liam Fox has failed miserably, delivering just six out of the forty deals he promised, including economic powerhouses like, errr, the Faroe Islands.
5 We would “regain our influence in the wider world”
Britain used to lead in Europe: now Theresa May spends every week asking European leader to help her manage a Tory party at war over Brexit. It’s a far cry from Winston Churchill’s call for Britain to take the lead in “the re-creation of the European family” after the war.