Boris Johnson’s ‘Vote Leave’ battle bus re-branded outside Parliament
Greenpeace covers bogus claim with questions from public
The famous ‘Vote Leave’ battle bus has been acquired by Greenpeace and is being re-branded outside Parliament. The bogus £350m NHS claim is being covered over with thousands of questions for the new government from Leave and Remain voters – many of them about what Brexit means for the environment. The questions, written on stickers, are forming a montage that will spell out the words ‘TIME FOR TRUTH’ in huge white letters on the side of the bus.
The battle bus re-brand comes as the new government starts its first full week in office. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been abolished, while some of the politicians who toured the UK on the bus – including Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Priti Patel – have been given top jobs. Andrea Leadsom, who also rode the bus, has been made Environment Secretary.
The questions covering the bus have been penned by people from across the country who want the new government to come clean about the direction it is taking Britain. Greenpeace tracked down the bus last week. It is the exact same vehicle (registration E14 ACK) with the original livery. The claim on the side was debunked by the UK Statistics Authority.
So far there are 10,014 questions being stuck onto the bus. Anybody can have their question to the new government added to the bus today by going to: greenpeace.org.uk/comeclean
Many of the questions have been written by people concerned that the EU laws that protect nature are now under threat. One voter, Laura from Swansea, sent Greenpeace this message, which is now on the side of the bus: “I voted leave. My greatest concern for our island is to protect what little natural habitat we have left. I hope the government will not let the country down on this issue.” Paul from Worthing’s message says: “When I was young, raw sewage and industrial effluent was being poured into our rivers. Now the rivers are clean enough to bring fish to our cities. Are you going to keep our rivers, landscapes and atmosphere clean or are you going to go backwards?”
A team on the bus is writing out the messages as they come in then sticking them over the bogus claim that Britain sends the EU £350m a week that would instead be spent on the NHS.
Speaking from the bus opposite Old Palace Yard, Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said:
“The referendum campaign was marred by exaggerations and lies, but now we need the truth. That’s why we’re covering Boris Johnson’s battle bus with thousands of questions for the new government from Leave and Remain voters. People want to know what ministers will do to keep our rivers and beaches clean once EU environment laws no longer apply in Britain. They want to know what the government will do about air pollution and climate change after we Brexit. Some just want to know if their European friends will be allowed to stay here. Only 329 MPs got to vote on who the next Prime Minister would be. The public didn’t get a say, they want answers about the future, and this time they want the truth.”
Much of the legal framework protecting the countryside – and the wildlife that lives in it – derives from European law. Birds and habitats directives protect animals and birds from industrialisation and unsustainable property development. The bathing water directive forced British governments to clean up our beaches and rivers, making many of them safe to swim in for the first time in decades. The farming minister George Eustice – who travelled on the Vote Leave bus – has described European environment directives as ‘spirit-crushing’ and said he wants to see the birds and habitats directives abolished for the UK post-Brexit . Conservative ministers have tried to water down European air pollution measures . Outside the EU they could be free to adopt weakened measures or even scrap them entirely.
Greenpeace does not take any money from corporations or governments, including the EU.
For more, call:
Greenpeace press office – 0207 865 8255 / 07973 873 155
Kate Blagojevic on site – 07801 212959
Photo desk – 020 7865 8294
Notes: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/30/brexit-spirit-crushing-green-directives-minister-george-eustice  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/03/eu-dilutes-proposal-halve-air-pollution-deaths-uk-lobbying
The messages being stuck on the bus include:
I was a leave voter and am keen to hear how our environment will be protected in the future. I would expect assurances that, at the very least, the EU laws that keep our rivers and beaches clean are safeguarded, Lesley
When I was young, raw sewage and industrial effluent was being poured into our rivers. Now the rivers are clean enough to bring fish to our cities. Are you going to keep our rivers, landscapes and atmosphere clean or are you going to go backwards? Paul, Worthing
Although I voted leave, green policies are some of the best things which have come out of the EU. For me, recycling and increasing environmentally friendly production should be huge priorities. Harry, London
Will you return the fishing rights to the fishing communities of the UK and manage them in a sustainable way. Will you protect our rivers and natural spaces with robust legislation? Dominic, Liverpool
What will happen to me? I’m German and live on a remote island and run the post office for 17 years. Will I have to sell up and go to Germany? I pay my taxes here will I have access to the NHS? What are you planning to do to keep British waters clean? Margit, papa westray.
Being a victim of the London air, having had half a lung and three ribs removed because of lung cancer, I need to know the air quality in London will be improved NOW, not next year, the year after, Now. Marilyn, London
I am 71, my husband David is 81, we have lived in the ROI for 16 years and are concerned about our pensions. We have worked all our lives, including Local Government in England and been self employed in both countries also. We finally retired last year. Diane, Sligo
How will funding for scientific research be safe-guarded? Currently there is a lot of collaboration between UK and European scientists, but how will these research projects be funded if Britain is out-side the EU? Saranna, Westerham
I voted leave. My greatest concern for our island is to protect what little natural habitat we have left. I hope the government will not let the country down on this issue. Laura, Swansea
Are you honouring the promise to give £350 million weekly to the NHS? If not, what are your plans to fund the NHS to keep it on a par with the funding of their health services by our EU neighbors? Helen
How will you counteract the damage already done to and protect big research collaborations and the fact that top researchers are already thinking twice about taking up posts at UK universities? Emilia, Oxford
As a PhD student and a midwife I would like to know how by leaving Europe the financial deficit will prevent social inequality developing further. Wendy, London