The Prime Minister is “menacing” voters in a desperate bid to get them to vote Remain in the referendum, former Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said.
The Prime Minister stepped up Project Fear over the weekend, warning Britons that a Brexit would mean the government could no longer fulfil its manifesto promise to deliver a ‘triple lock’ on pensions.
In today’s Telegraph, Leave campaigner Boris Johnson said the threat showed that Cameron was “rattled” by the increasing possibility that Britain may vote to leave the European Union (EU) next week. He wrote:
“You know when someone is losing an argument because they suddenly get all rattled, and personal, and sometimes even a little bit menacing. It is clear from their style of debate in the last few weeks that the Remain campaign is conscious that it is losing the argument, and losing comprehensively.”
And he has accused the Remain campaign of being too frightened to make the case for the European project in its own right, as they know the British public would not back it.
“It is an attempt to build a United States of Europe; to create a single political structure. And yet no senior Remainer has so far had the honesty to defend the project for what it is.
“No one on the Remain side has shown any shred of explicit federalist idealism; no one has called for Britain to join in “building Europe” or in creating a “European identity”. That is because they know that this ideology – though dominant in Brussels – would be viewed with alarm by the British public.”
Instead, he says, they have resorted to “an unending and intensifying diet of fear. We are being bullied and brow-beaten into remaining in this failing system – and I think the public can see through it. As time goes on, I find more and more people can see that Britain would have a great future outside the EU.”
Pointing out that 36 countries – “including India, Russia, China, America, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil” – did better than the UK at exporting to the single market over the last two decades he added: “They weren’t ‘in’ it. They didn’t have Brussels making 60 per cent of their laws. And yet they did better than us.”
“The Remainers have nothing to say. Their mouths just open and shut, wordlessly.”
Boris on “rattled” Remain camp: “They had a relaunch and decided to use Gordon Brown, which shows the measure of the panic they are in.”
— Harry Cole (@MrHarryCole) June 13, 2016
His comments echo those of UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who, in response to the Prime Minister’s warnings on pensions told reporters:
“The Prime Minister and the Chancellor are now trying to threaten old people! It’s pretty unseemly in my view. Project Fear has now become Project Threat. People are increasingly just not believing it.”
He added that he thinks Leave are winning the debate, saying:
“I think there’s been a shift. People have just had enough of being threatened by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. In the end, you tend to get a counter-reaction. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m feeling more confident now than I have at any point in the campaign.”
The Remain campaign has now turned to the former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown to make their case, hoping that he can persuade Labour voters to back the EU. As opposition to membership of the politico-trading bloc is so strong in Conservative circles, the campaign needs Labourites to back remain by two to one to win.
Mr Johnson said the tactic, another borrowed from the Scottish referendum, belied “the level of panic” the Remain camp are in.