The EU referendum campaign intensifies this weekend as the vote date – 23rd June – gets nearer, with both sides trying to get the elusive undecided voters to come to their side. According to several polls, the country is just about equally split down the middle, but there are millions of voters out there who have yet to make up their minds.
The 23rd June referendum will ask Britons whether they want the UK to stay or leave the European Union (EU). As happens in most modern elections, the floating voters will determine the outcome.
The Conservative and Labour Party leaders – Prime Minister David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn – will separately push for the Remain vote, as part of over one thousands events across the country, trying to persuade people to vote to stay within the EU.
For the next few weeks, the EU Referendum campaign will intensify further. The country is split down the middle, even households and political parties are divided. Best friends, family members and lawmakers will probably fall out as the debate becomes more heated.
Former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who leads the Leave campaign, will explain in a speech why voters should choose to leave the EU, while Grassroots Out are holding several events UK-wide.
One thousand events across UK today
The official Britain Stronger in Europe campaign said that just on Saturday there would be about one thousand events across the country.
In his Oxfordshire constituency of Witney, Mr. Cameron will unveil a poster reminding people about why they should not vote to leave. The poster depicts an envelope on a doormat with the words ‘£4,300 for every household’, which is how much it would cost each household if the country left the EU.
Mr. Cameron said lawmakers everywhere were coming together to announce with ‘one voice’ that the UK should vote to Remain – adding that Britain’s future in the EU was ‘bigger than party politics’.
Mr. Cameron said:
“We’ll see the effects of this referendum in our lives: the jobs we do, the opportunities our children have, the public services we rely on, the prices we pay and the bills that land on our doormats.”
David Cameron and Boris Johnson. They went to the same school and university, and have been the best of friends most of their lives. They even belong to the same party. However, Mr. Cameron wants to Remain in the EU, while Mr. Johnson wants to Leave. Will the campaign cost them their friendship?
According to Vote Leave, the Prime Minister has not been entirely honest with voters. It claims that remaining in the EU costs each household £4,600 per year, because membership has a fee for which the UK must pay £50 million per day.
EU good for women – Harriet Harman
Labour Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman, gave a speech at Lloyds of London on Friday in which she argued that UK women are safer, stronger and better off thanks to EU membership. Leaving the EU, she warned, would put women’s jobs and rights at risk.
Ms. Harman, a Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, used her speech to present a Britain is Stronger in Europe Report on the economic bloc, which she claims has advanced women’s rights.
Ms. Harman argued that women’s rights and job security are guaranteed because the UK is an EU member.
During her speech, Ms. Harman made the following comments:
“You work here in the financial services industry, an industry which is crucially important to the economy of this country and for the employment of women.”
“Financial services generate over £126 billion for our economy every year and half a million women work in it. Not just here in London but in Leeds, Edinburgh, Bristol and throughout the country.”
“It’s easy to overlook, but it’s impossible to overstate, how important the EU has been in our struggle for women’s rights at work. Some of our rights came directly from the EU, some rights were enhanced because of the EU and our rights as women at work can’t be taken away, as they are guaranteed by our membership of the EU.”
Immigration out of control – Priti Patel
Employment Minister Priti Patel, who has been an MP for the Witham constituency in Essex since 2010, argues that immigration – the influx of people coming to live in the UK from abroad – is out of control. She adds that this growing problem can only be addressed if we leave the EU.
Ms. Patel argues that we need to leave the EU if we want to control the immigration situation, which she describes as currently ‘out of control’.
Ms. Patel said:
“The scale and impact of immigration from Europe is even higher than previously admitted. It is out of control – and cannot be controlled as long as we stay in the EU.”
Ms. Patel was responding to the publication of national insurance number registration statistics by the ONS (Office for National Statistics) that suggests that the number of immigrants entering the UK over the past few years has been greater than previously admitted.
Ms. Patel added:
“These figures – which had to be dragged out of the government – show the scale and impact of immigration from the EU is even higher than previously admitted. It is out of control – and cannot be controlled as long as we stay in the EU. This puts huge strains on the NHS, housing, schools and other public services.”
“Short term migration is highly significant, and arguably most damaging in terms of wages and work conditions. The only way we can take back control, and deliver on our manifesto commitment to reduce migration is to Vote Leave on 23 June.”
Vote Leave says families would prosper outside the EU
Vote Leave founder and Chief Executive, Matthew Elliot, former Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and Big Brother Watch, said:
“David Cameron knows that not a single British family would lose that amount of money if we Vote Leave. In fact they would prosper as we spend our money on our priorities.”
Mr. Elliot is also Founder and was the Chief Executive of Business for Britain.
Many Labour MPs, as well as much of the British press, wonder how pro-EU Jeremy Corbyn really is. He has a history of making anti-EU comments.
Major IMF warning about leaving EU
On Friday, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, warned that leaving the EU could precipitate a steep fall in house prices and a stock market crash. She added that the British economy would likely shrink for two consecutive quarters, i.e. it would slide into an economic recession.
Ms. Lagarde said:
“We have looked at all the scenarios. We have done our homework and we haven’t found anything positive to say about a Brexit vote.”
The IMF said investor mass panic would trigger serious shockwaves across the whole economy following a vote to leave, sending property prices and shares into a downward spiral.
An IMF report, which came as an injection of pure oxygen for the Remain campaign, said that even over the longer term, UK GDP (gross domestic product) growth would be undermined.
US President Barack Obama made it clear during his April visit to the UK that he would prefer to see a strong Britain within the EU. If the UK left the EU it would go to the ‘back of the queue’ for trade deals with the United States, he warned.
Vote Leave said IMF is consistently wrong
Vote Leave reacted to the IMF’s warnings by claiming that the UK Government is planning to circumvent purdah rules by using the IMF, which the EU and UK Government fund. It added that the IMF has been wrong about its forecasts for the UK government ‘consistently’, and it is wrong now. It reminded voters that Chancellor George Osborne has castigated the IMF for its past errors.
According to Vote Leave, the IMF has recommended tax increases on items such as children’s clothing and food if we vote to remain in the EU.
Priti Paterl MP is quoted in a Vote Leave press release as saying:
“The IMF warned Britain it was playing with fire when it set out a plan to deal with the deficit. Now our economy is stronger than nearly every other major economy. Today, the IMF is talking down Britain because we want to take back control from Brussels. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.”
“The EU-funded IMF should not interfere in our democratic debate a week before polling day. It appears the Chancellor is cashing in favours to Ms. Lagarde in order to encourage the IMF to bully the British people – it is a sign of the desperation in the IN campaign.”
How pro-Remain is Jeremy Corbyn?
Jeremy Corbyn will attack the Tory government in a rally in London, in an attempt to rally Labour support for a Remain vote. Mr. Corbyn is seen as the Labour Party’s most Eurosceptic leader in a generation.
Many of Briatin’s problems, Mr. Corbyn insists, lie with the Tory government and not the EU. He has been encouraged by several Labour MPs to take a more prominent role in the campaign. Earlier this week, his own MPs criticized him for deciding to take a one week holiday during the referendum campaign.
Video – EU Referendum Explained
This video explains in simple terms what the EU Referendum is all about.