Cameron pushes "tolerant, liberal Britain" as Brexit campaigns resume

British voters should opt for a "tolerant, liberal Britain" and reject a British EU exit, or Brexit, in this week's referendum, extolled Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, as the campaign to decide Britain's role in the EU enters its last days.

"If you don't know, don't go," Cameron told undecided voters on Sunday, in his first major intervention in the campaigning since the murder of Labour politician Jo Cox, who, like Cameron, had urged the public to vote Remain.

"Jo embodied Britain at her best – a country that is decent and compassionate; one that reaches out to make the world a better place," Cameron wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

"I'm so proud of Britain – this open, tolerant, big-hearted country of ours," he said. "But I believe this referendum has now become a watershed moment for our country."

"And we are going to have to make a defining decision on Thursday: are we going to choose Nigel Farage's vision – one which takes Britain backwards; divides rather than unites; and questions the motives of anyone who takes a different view," Cameron asked, referring to the leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party.

"Or will we, instead, choose the tolerant, liberal Britain; a country that doesn't blame its problems on other groups of people; one that doesn't pine for the past, but looks to the future with hope, optimism and confidence?"

An unemployed man who sympathized with racist and right-wing extremist groups, and had a history of mental illness, has been charged with murdering Cox.

Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who also backs Remain, appeared together on Friday at a vigil for Cox.

Speaking to broadcaster ITV on Sunday, Farage said Cox's murder had halted the momentum the Leave campaign had built.

"We did have momentum until this terrible tragedy," Farage said. "It has had an impact on the whole campaign for everybody."

But he said he was confident that people who had already decided to vote for a Brexit would turn out in Thursday's referendum, "because they want to get control over their country back."

Opinion polls published during the weekend put Remain marginally ahead, after several polls early last week had suggested a swing towards Leave.

In another boost for Cameron, the Mail of Sunday, published by Britain's most popular tabloid, The Daily Mail, said it was backing Remain "for a safer, freer, more prosperous and even Greater Britain."

But The Sunday Times backed Leave, even after Saturday's front page of The Times had supported Remain.

The pro-Leave Sun, Britain's best-selling print newspaper, ran an interview with Vote Leave co-leader Boris Johnson on Sunday, quoting him as saying Britain could break "several of the worst EU ties" within days of a vote for Brexit.

"This is our moment when the British people take centre stage in history," said Johnson, a fellow Conservative and long-term friend of Cameron.

"The eyes of Europe will be on us and hundreds of millions of people will be praying that we do the right thing and vote for change," said Johnson, who is seen as a potential successor to Cameron as Conservative and national leader if Britain votes for a Brexit.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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