In Depth

Brexit quotes back to haunt politicians - on giant billboards

Guerrilla advertising campaign highlights embarrassing comments by Theresa May and pro-Leave MPs

Billboard posters showing tweets in which Brexiteer MPs boasted that Brexit would be simple have popped up in towns and cities across southeast England.

The posters are part of what The Guardian describes as a “guerrilla advertising campaign designed to embarrass pro-Brexit politicians using their own past claims and predictions”.

A 2016 tweet from arch-Brexiteer Michael Gove claims that Britain will “hold all the cards” in negotiations with the European Union, while International Trade Secretary Liam Fox once bragged that securing a free trade agreement with the bloc “should be one of the easiest in human history”.

Another billboard shows a tweet from Theresa May - who backed Remain in the referendum - in which the then-home secretary insisted that Britain would be safer in the EU.

The campaign is the brainchild of an anti-Brexit group called Led By Donkeys, which describes the series of posters as a “public information campaign to remind the public of the statements and promises made to us by our MPs”.

A spokesperson for the group told the Press Association: “The news cycle is so fast nowadays, we forget what our leaders once said.

“If they want us to trust their judgment as we enter the choppy waters of Brexit it’s right that we remind ourselves of their record.”

The posters have gone up in London, Essex and Dover, reports The Times.

A Led By Donkeys spokesperson told The Guardian that each location where the posters appear had been chosen for its significance, with Dover selected because it was a “front line” for the impact of Brexit.

The quotes featured in the campaign were chosen by the group’s followers on Twitter, after they were asked to “like” the comments they thought best deserved wider promotion.

The top-voted quote was a 2011 statement from Conservative MP and arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg that reads: “We could have two referendums. As it happens, it might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed”.

Other billboards showcase David Cameron’s tweet before the 2015 election in which he asked voters to choose between “stability and strong government with me or chaos with Ed Miliband”.

Cameron’s tweet has become something of an internet meme, as “little more than a year later he had lost the Brexit referendum and was out of a job”, says The Times. Indeed, Led By Donkeys say it was the former PM’s tweet that prompted the group’s action.

“The idea came down the pub. We were talking about whether Cameron would one day delete his ‘chaos with Ed Miliband’ tweet, and someone said: ‘Let’s turn it into a tweet you can’t delete.’ It went from there,” explained the spokesperson.

Miliband also saw the tweet’s potential, using it as the basis of his Christmas card this year.

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