Saturday

3rd Dec 2022

Cameron in final push, as polls show pro-EU swing

  • Surveys put support for the Leave and Remain camp on the UK's EU membership on a tie four days ahead of the vote (Photo: Abi Begum)

British prime minister David Cameron argued on Sunday (19 June) that Britons are not quitters and should vote to remain in the EU, as polls suggest a dead heat in the race four days ahead of the historic ballot on the UK's EU membership.

Cameron, speaking in a special edition of the BBC's Question Time show, invoked the memory of war-time prime minister Winston Churchill's decision in May 1940 to fight the Nazis.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"He didn’t want to be alone, he wanted to be fighting with the French and with the Poles and with the others but he didn’t quit. He didn’t quit on Europe, he didn’t quit on European democracy, he didn’t quit on European freedom," Cameron said, in impassioned tones.

"I don’t think Britain at the end is a quitter. I think we stay and fight. That is what we should do," he said.

Cameron reiterated that the UK's economy would be harmed if Britons leave the EU, but could not defend his government's failed pledge to cut immigration to below 100,000 per year.

He also said the UK would not support Turkish accession in the next few years and that it was unlikely to happen anyway for decades.

The PM acknowledged that many voters were confused and that he needed to make a better case for staying in the EU.

Neck and neck

His plea to voters came as latests polls suggested a swing back towards support for the Remain camp in the wake of the shock murder of pro-EU Labour lawmaker Jo Cox on Thursday.

An Opinium/Observer poll put both sides on 44 percent, while 10 percent said they were undecided.

A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times gave the Remain camp 44 percent, a one point lead over Leave.

Another survey by Survation polled Remain at 45 percent and Leave at 42 percent, a reverse in th results from a few days ago.

Last week saw a strong surge for the Leave camp, ringing alarm bells across Europe.

YouGov's director, Anthony Wells said that the swing in polls was less likely due to the tragic murder of Cox, but rather to a hike in support for the status quo before the actual vote on 23 June.

Shock and awe

Both Remain and Leave campaigns resumed over the weekend after a two-day pause following the killing.

The prime minister sought to frame the debate on the referendum as a choice between tolerant Cox and intolerant Nigel Farage, the leader of the eurosceptic UK Independence Party.

Farage drew criticism after unveiling a poster last Thursday that showed a column of immigrants with the slogan: "Breaking point."

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Orsborne said the poster was reminiscent of 1930s fasicst propaganda.

Even the pro-Brexit justice minister Michael Gove criticised the campaign. "When I saw that poster I shuddered. I thought it was the wrong thing to do," he said.

As a reaction to the campaign, former Conservative chairwoman Sayeeda Warsi switched to the Remain camp. She said the Leave campaign was spreading “hate and xenophobia”.

Agenda

UK decision time This WEEK

First EU reaction to UK decision expected on Friday morning. Spain to hold elections on Sunday that could bring maverick left-wingers Podemos to power.

Brexit Briefing

Leach the poison from the political well

At the end of a campaign, in which hyperbole, exaggeration and flat-out lies have masqueraded as debate, it’s still not too late for a positive case for EU membership or leaving the bloc to be made.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us