Even a former Brexit Party MEP says he 'can't justify' the £120m Festival of Brexit

Tory MP Desmond Swayne says new Brexit paperwork is 'monstrous'
Parliament TV

The £120 million cost of the so-called 'Festival of Brexit' has been called a huge waste of money in a new report – and now even a former Brexit Party MEP has criticised it.

Ben Habib appeared on a radio phone in and said he “can’t justify” the price of the event.

It comes after MPs hit out at the plans for the festival, which is officially called "Unboxed: Creativity in the UK", and has been planned since 2018, set to take place later this year.

A cross party-culture media and sport select committee criticised the government's handling of the project, calling it "ripe for misinterpretation" in the press and by the public and "a recipe for failure".

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Habib is pro-Brexit, obviously, but seems as if he isn't looking forward to the event though he said this is in part because he doesn't think Brexit has actually happened...

“I can’t justify £120 million to celebrate Brexit,” Habib said while appearing on Ian Collins’ show on TalkRadio alongside Remain campaigner and activist Femi Oluwole.

“I can’t justify £120 million spent on something as nebulous as a transition from a particular set up for the United Kingdom to a new set up for the United Kingdom,” he added.

Tory MP Julian Knight, who chairs the culture select committee that slammed the 'festival', said: “Despite the UK having a strong reputation on the world stage as a leading host of sporting and cultural events, there is no golden thread linking them all together. Unless the government urgently addresses this lack of strategy and vision, it will continue to risk squandering the benefits such occasions can bring, while wasting the hard-earned money of taxpayers."

"The Unboxed festival acts as a prime illustration of an event with aims that have been vague from the start. That it took three years to come up with a rather nebulous name, which will mean little to the few that are even aware of its existence, does not bode well for its chances of delivering a true lasting legacy.

"How this questionable example of planning is playing out should act as wake-up call for the government. Such a muddled approach is a sure-fire recipe for failure and we have no confidence that it can meet its ambitious targets for engagement or deliver a return on the substantial investment from the public coffers.”

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