As the debate on the EU referendum continues to heat up, the future of the NHS has unsurprisingly emerged as one of the key battlegrounds. Labour MPS like Alan Johnson have said that leaving the EU would risk “frightening consequences for staffing, waiting times and levels of service care”. By contrast, right wing campaigners for Brexit argue that leaving the EU could secure the health service, reducing the burden on the NHScaused by immigration from Europe. Both camps rely heavily upon fearmongering – a strategy frequently adopted by people with nothing to say, or something to hide. In separating fact from fiction on the EU referendum and its effects on the NHS, therefore, it is useful to examine the credentials of some of those involved. The NHS and Right Wing Euroscepticism Perhaps the archetypal Leave campaigners in recent years have been those associated with UKIP (although historically Brexit has been a position most associated with the political left). On his weekly phone-in show on LBC Radio, UKIP leader Nigel Farageexpressed concern that continued membership in the EU would “allow giant American corporations to bid for contracts within the National Health Service”. He added: “There are many people that fear that this could be the privatisation of the National Health Service through the back door.” Anyone following British politics will know that Farage – an ex-commodity broker – is a slippery character, but his hand wringing over the NHS is laughable even by his own standards. On his 2012 Common Sense Tour, Farage announced: “I think we’re going to have to think about healthcare very, very differently. I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare. “Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the market place of an insurance company than just us trustingly giving £100bn a year to central government and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us.” In keeping with his leader’s sentiments, Douglas Carswell, the single elected UKIP MP, has campaigned continuously for an “open market” in healthcare contracts. Similar disingenuousness can be seen in the Brexit campaign group Vote Leave, which is backed by the Justice Secretary Michael Gove and London Mayor Boris Johnson. The campaign is currently appealing to NHS staff to support leaving the EU on the basis that a vote to remain would destroy the NHS. One spokesperson for the group stated that “[i]f we Vote Leave we can stop handing over £350m a week to the EU and can instead spend our money on our priorities like the NHS.” And yet, in 2005 Gove co-authored a book entitled Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party which states unequivocally: “Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of health care in Britain, so extending to all the choices currently available only to the minority who opt for private provision.” (p.77) More recently, in 2012 Gove also voted in favour of the Health and Social Care Act, which provided a legal framework for fragmenting and privatising the NHS.