One of the leading lights of the Brexit campaign has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn after stating the UK would remain in the European Union until at least 2020.
Speaking on Peston On Sunday earlier today, justice secretary Michael Gove said Leave campaigners would not withdraw the UK from the EU before the next election.
David Cameron said on Friday that if Britain votes to leave the EU, he would immediately trigger Brexit processes, which give the UK two years to negotiate its exit.
However, asked today about whether proposals for new rules around migration would allow the UK to reduce net migration to below 100,000, Gove punted an EU departure into the long-grass: "Well, we wouldn’t have left the EU by the end of this parliament but we would in due course bring it down to tens of thousands, yes."
However, the Tory MP has now completed an embarrassing climb down, with a spokesman claiming Gove “got his words tangled”.
“Of course we'll have left the EU and repealed the European Communities Act by 2020. He meant that building the new UK-EU relationship will take time. It will be an ongoing process and there'll obviously still be issues to resolve in 2020,” a spokesman said.
Former Labour deputy leader, Harriet Harman, responded: "The Leave campaign are making it up as they go along: they say they will deliver promises by 2020, but then they admit that we wouldn't have left Europe by 2020."
"This admission from the Leave campaign that our economy would face years and years of uncertainty after a vote to leave shows exactly why quitting Europe is a leap in the dark that would put jobs and our children's future at risk.”