Britain’s Minister of State for Europe, David Lidington MP, has blamed media coverage of the ongoing migrant crisis for the popularity of the ‘Brexit’ campaign.
Until recently public sentiment in Britain appeared to favour voting to remain in the European Union (EU) in the referendum promised by the Conservative government. Now, however, support for the choice of the political establishment and mainstream media has begun to slip with some polls pointing to a majority in favour of leaving.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the rise in support we have seen in opinion polls for leaving the EU in the last few months is related in part at least to the fact that news coverage has been dominated by the migration crisis.”
Both Mr Lidington (pictured above addressing a European Movement event in Germany) and Prime Minister David Cameron hope to persuade the British public to support ongoing membership of the EU when the vote is held before the end of 2017. Coverage of the migrant crisis is, therefore, an unwelcome intervention from their perspective.
Recent news of the head of Frontex, the EU’s border agency, warning that over 800,000 people have entered the EU as “irregular” arrivals since the beginning of 2015, is an example of what Mr Lidington fears will scupper the pro-EU argument. The fact the Frontex chief believes more migrants are on the way, and the EU predicts three million more migrants could arrive by the end of 2016 – both reported by Breitbart London – will bolster Mr Lidington’s concerns.
He is not the only person who fears that media exposure of the migrant crisis feeds unhelpful sentiment. If Federal Chairman of the German Police Union Rainer Wendt is correct that “the public does not know everything” because the police report “only a fraction” of what is happening to avoid scaring people unnecessarily, it may be that others take a more proactive approach to news management.
Mr Lidington also told journalists that “in the first half of next week” Mr Cameron will set out the British government’s demands for EU reform in an open letter to European Council President Donald Tusk.