- Britain Stronger in Europe holding 1,000 campaign events
- Cameron says leaving EU to be ‘devasting’ for infrastructure
Britons eager to find out more about the pros and cons of European Union membership have a wealth of options this weekend, with campaigners for a “Leave” vote in next month’s referendum pledging a publicity “blitz” and their opponents promising “the biggest day of cross-party campaigning in U.K. political history.”
Prime Minister David Cameron, opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat chief Tim Farron and the Green Party’s only lawmaker, Caroline Lucas, are out campaigning on Saturday, Britain Stronger in Europe said in an e-mailed statement. Grassroots Out, one of the groups campaigning for a Brexit, said it’s organizing street stalls and leaflet drops nationwide.
“This is a day unlike any other: politicians of every stripe taking to the streets with the same message,” Cameron said in a statement. “This is bigger than party politics. Its effects will last longer than our lifetimes. So we are saying with one voice: make sure Britain is stronger, safer and better off, and vote to remain in a reformed European Union.”
With polls suggesting the June 23 referendum may be close, both campaigns are upping their activity and rhetoric. A week that began with Cameron suggesting that war is more likely if Britain leaves the EU ended on Friday with the International Monetary Fund endorsing Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s verdict that a Brexit could trigger a recession.
On Saturday, Cameron highlighted Britain’s membership in the European Investment Bank, citing more than 16 billion pounds ($23 billion) spent on U.K. infrastructure projects since 2013. In a statement, he said leaving the EIB will have a “devastating impact” on future projects.
Meanwhile, Vote Leave, the official Brexit campaign, began its national tour in Cornwall, southwest England. A high-tech red bus emblazoned with the slogan “Let’s Take Back Control” was unveiled on Wednesday and its first official passenger was former London Mayor Boris Johnson. Those who want Britain out of the EU accuse “Remain” campaigners of scaremongering.
“The status quo is not on the ballot paper on June 23: if we vote to remain, we will be consigning ourselves to being a colony of an EU superstate, with more integration and increasingly diminished British influence,” former Conservative Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is set to say at a rally in Chester, northern England, according to Grassroots Out. “We need to take this opportunity to take back control of our own affairs.”
Britain Stronger in Europe said its campaign and the parties that support it will hold about 1,000 events nationwide on Saturday. Cameron will unveil a new poster highlighting the government’s estimate that a Brexit will cost every household 4,300 pounds. Corbyn plans to address an audience of 900 people in London; Farron will campaign in Kendal, northwest England; and Lucas will do so in Brighton on the south coast.
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“We face a vote unlike any other, one which will shape our country for decades -- even generations -– to come,” Cameron said.