Wednesday 20 February 2019

Activists raise £30,000 for more billboards highlighting Brexit ‘hypocrisy’

Activist group Led By Donkeys says it is coming after MPs “with a ladder, a roller and their own words”.

By Alastair Reid, Press Association

Activists aiming to highlight the “hypocrisy” of British politicians on Brexit have raised more than £30,000 in one day to erect billboards featuring their quotes across the country.

The pro-Remain activists, calling themselves Led By Donkeys, said the public donations are due to “an incredible sense of frustration” about the promises some MPs made and “the reality people are observing with their own eyes”.

“It’s like watching a bank heist and seeing the getaway car screech away and nobody chasing them,” the group’s spokesperson told the Press Association

“So that’s what we’re doing, we’re chasing them down with a ladder, a roller and their own words.”

The group, who have not revealed their identities, conducted three “guerilla” billboard campaigns since January 9, featuring the words of former prime minister David Cameron, Vote Leave leader Michael Gove, Prime Minister Theresa May and former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab.

Hard Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox also featured.

They have since been “inundated” with suggestions for future billboards as “people are combing through Hansard like it’s the new Harry Potter.”

The spokesperson said: “For us it’s vital that we engage our family, friends and loved ones who voted Leave.

“So posting these things only in Hackney and Cambridge is not going to work.”

The spokesperson added: “The people who are saying that no deal will be fine are the same people who told us we hold all the cards and the EU would crumble before the awesome might of our negotiating position.”

“Well those people are now on the bridge of the ship of state and we’re sailing into choppy waters.”

One of the billboards includes a quote from Liam Fox, who said in 2017: “The free trade agreement that we will have to do with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.”

A spokesman for the International Trade Secretary said: “Dr Fox was referring to the trade agreement that can only occur after we have left the EU.

“What we are negotiating now is the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50. It does not help the quality of our politics to partially quote, misquote or misrepresent”.

Dr Fox’s full quote from 2017, in an appearance on the Today programme, continues: “We are already beginning with zero tariffs, and we are already beginning at the point of maximal regulatory equivalence, as it is called. In other words, our rules and our laws are exactly the same.

“The only reason that we wouldn’t come to a free and open agreement is because politics gets in the way of economics.”

Led By Donkeys has garnered more than 25,000 Twitter followers in just over a week.

The account will tweet out quotes from politicians and ask their followers to choose which will feature on the new billboards.

A 2011 statement from Jacob Rees-Mogg won the previous vote, when he said: “We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed.”

The initial billboards were quickly removed because they were erected without permission but money from the crowdfunding campaign will be used to buy advertising space for the posters across the country.

David Cameron, Theresa May, Dominic Raab, David Davis, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Gove, who feature in the billboards erected so far, all declined to comment.

At the time of publication, the £30,000 raised so far has been donated by just under 1,300 supporters, according to the Crowdfunder website, meaning donations average a little over £20 each.

“We just want people to stop and thinking for a moment – can I trust what David Davis and Liam Fox are telling me?” the spokesperson said.

Press Association

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