This was not the first time Boris Johnson had claimed that remaining in the EU cost £1 billion a month. He previously made the claim at the Conservative Party conference and on the Today programme.
This was not true, as the fact-checking website Full Fact pointed out. An extension of a few months would cost nothing more than leaving with a deal on 31 October. The only way to get to the figure would be to compare it to leaving with no deal and not paying the divorce bill. But Johnson’s government has given no indication it wants to renegotiate the divorce bill.
Boris Johnson’s statement was a lie that he has repeated on multiple occasions.
I wrote to the Downing Street press office asking whether Johnson planned to correct his false statement to the commons as required by the ministerial code. I added that if he did not plan to, I would be interested in seeing what evidence he had to support his statement. A press officer failed to answer the questions but told me that they had been “forwarded to our special advisors.” She added that they “have advised that they will not be providing any comment at this time.”