‘You’re bananas Boris!’ Protesters dress up to challenge MP’s European claims

Not so mellow yellow – the protesters at York Racecourse. Photographs: Jack Gevertz
24 May 2016 @ 9.33 pm
| News, Politics

The debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union turned bananas when protesters donning fruit costumes turned up to Boris Johnson’s Brexit rally, accusing him of telling “so many lies”.

Around a dozen demonstrators, who said they were backing Remain in the upcoming EU referendum, gathered outside the ‘Vote Leave’ event at the York Racecourse on Monday (May 23).

They were challenging comments from the former Mayor of London in a speech on Parliament Street, York, earlier on Monday, where he said the EU had implemented “four directives on bananas including on the curvature of bananas”.

Tina Funnell, one of the protestors and a Heworth ward councillor, said: “Boris [has] told so many lies. One of the many lies was that the European Commission was banning bendy bananas, among other rubbish.”

‘Four banana directives’

Boris Johnson addresses Brexit activists at York Racecourse
Boris Johnson addresses Brexit activists at York Racecourse

In his speech at the York Racecourse, he stuck by his banana revelations.

He said: “There are some bananas who have turned up to protest at what I have to say. The Remain campaign went wild when I mentioned this and they said I was wrong. I looked it up and I was wrong.

You can see a video of Boris’s speech on the YorkMix Facebook page

“There isn’t just one directive on bananas there are four directives on bananas.

“Four directives on how you can sell bananas, what size the bunches have got to be and forbidding grocers from selling abnormal curvature of the finger.”

Holding placards reading ‘Stop the Lies Boris’ and ‘Brexit? That’s bananas’ the demonstrators also challenged the signature tagline from the ‘Vote Leave’ bus – “We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead” – using their own “Truth Truck”.

Ms Funnell said: “It [the tagline] is total lies. There would be devastation in terms of staff. We can’t get carers in York because they can’t afford to live here.

“The whole investment in the NHS has dropped and we need to get it back to what it was like when Labour was in charge. We’re in crisis because of the public private provision, but that has nothing to do with Europe.”

Roger Armistead, another protestor from York, added: “The NHS chief executive says that the NHS won’t be able to operate if we leave the EU. More jobs will be lost and that’s today’s news. We feel we would be much worse off if we left.”

Barbara Boyce, another protestor and also a Heworth ward councillor, said lack of investment in the NHS was down to austerity and not the EU.