BORIS Johnson has claimed that “Brexit helped save lives” during an interview with Nadine Dorries.

The shamed former prime minister was interviewed on the ex-culture secretary’s TalkTV show and hailed the pace of Britain’s vaccine roll-out, which he said was speedier because the UK had left the EU.

He admitted he thought people’s “eyes [would] bulge a bit” at the statement – but insisted it was “true”.

Speaking on the show, Johnson said: “Had it not been for the fact that we were able to do our own regulation, had it not been for the fact that we’d come out of the European Medicines Agency, the MHRA [the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency]… was now totally free to decide how to, how fast to approve a vaccine.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that vaccine roll-out so fast and it is literally true that Brexit helped save lives and you know, people’s eyes bulge a bit when you say that but it happens to be true…I’m proud of that and all the work that those people did.”

However, Johnson’s claim that the UK’s exit from the EU allowed the government to approve vaccines quicker has been shown to be false.

Since 2012 the MHRA has been permitted to approve unlicenced medicinal products in the case of public emergencies such as pandemics.

READ MORE: John Swinney won't commit to de facto independence referendum plan

When the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was approved in the UK in December 2020 it was done so under existing EU legislation.

The comments come after hundreds of Scots gathered outside the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday evening to mark the third anniversary of Brexit.

SNP MP Alyn Smith told the crowd: “There’s no way you can polish this jobbie. The answer is independence!”