Prime Minister David Cameron turned to alcohol on Wednesday in his campaign to avert a British vote to leave the European Union, saying continued membership will protect the country’s 45 billion-pound ($64 billion) wine and spirits industry.
Exports of British sparkling wines, whisky and other alcoholic drinks to the 27 other EU countries totaled 1.8 billion pounds last year, while 35 free-trade deals between the bloc and countries such as South Africa and South Korea bring in hundreds of millions more, Cameron’s office said in an e-mailed statement. A survey by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association found 90 percent of respondents want Britain to stay in the EU, it said.
Polls show the result may be finely balanced when U.K. voters cast their ballots in the June 23 referendum. Cameron said the 600,000 jobs in the wine and spirits industry will be safer if the U.K. remains within the bloc.
“Those who want to leave Europe can’t tell you if British businesses would be able to access Europe’s free-trade area; or if your job is safe, how much your prices would rise, how much your mortgage would be at risk, or if the funding for your local school or hospital is secure,” Cameron said. “They are offering you risk at a time of uncertainty. It is a leap in the dark.”