With four new polls published over the weekend all showing the race within three points, it is clear that the contest is still too close to call heading into the final week. The Remain side will be relieved that the momentum for Leave appears to have slowed down somewhat and will hope that this is the beginning of a reversion to the status quo.
Poll of polls: Remain 44%; Leave 44; Don’t Know 12%
Remain: 3/10 (73% chance) UP 11%
Leave: 5/2 (27% chance) DOWN 11%
Mixed picture as weekend papers make their declarations
Editorials in the weekend papers saw a mixed picture emerging with The Times, Observer, Sunday Mirror and Mail on Sunday declaring for Remain, while the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Sun on Sunday and Sunday Express are backing Leave. The Times said that “on balance we believe Britain would be better off leading a renewed drive for reform within the EU rather than starting afresh outside it”. However their sister paper the Sunday Times said the vote may be “the only opportunity we shall ever have to call a halt to the onward march of the centralising European project”.
Baroness Warsi switches sides from Leave to Remain
Former Conservative Party Chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi announced that she is switching from supporting a Leave vote to campaign for a vote to Remain in the final week of the campaign. She told The Times that she could no longer support Leave after seeing the UKIP “Breaking Point” poster and said that she was not prepared “to tell lies, to spread hate and xenophobia just to win a campaign”. Over the weekend other Leave figures distanced themselves from the poster unveiled by Nigel Farage on Thursday, with Michael Gove saying he “shuddered” when he saw it, while Chris Grayling said it was “wrong”. Mr Farage defended the poster, saying that official Leave campaign posters had also contained strong images about Turkey and “the number of terrorists and criminals who come into Britain”.
Cameron faces lives Question Time audience
The Prime Minister took part in a special edition of Question Time where he answered questions on the EU referendum from a live studio audience on Sunday evening. The questions focused heavily on immigration, with the PM facing an at times hostile grilling. One audience member compared Cameron to Neville Chamberlain “coming back holding up a white piece of paper”, which appeared to rile Cameron up and give an impassioned plea that Britain should not quit the EU, but stay and fight.
Johnson signs letter urging Cameron to stay
Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and other Brexit-supporting Conservatives have signed a letter calling on David Cameron to carry on as Prime Minister even if there is a vote to Leave the European Union. The letter is being circulated among Tory MPs and it is hoped that it will dissuade discontented backbenchers from trying to gather the 50 names required to trigger a vote of no confidence in the PM. The organisers are confident of reaching a three figure number of signatories and the letter will cast doubt over the idea that Cameron would have to resign immediately in the event of a Leave victory.
Corbyn says no upper limit on immigration inside the EU
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared on the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday and said that there can be no upper limit on the number of people entering the UK while there is free movement of Labour inside the European Union. His comments were seized upon by Leave campaigners with Nigel Farage describing them as “irresponsible”. Also appearing on Marr, Justice Secretary Michael Gove said he is “pro-migration but I believe that the way in which we secure public support for the continued benefits that migration brings and the way in which we support public support for helping refugees in need is if people feel that they can control the numbers overall coming here.”
Car industry and Premier League come out for Remain
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) has warned leaving the EU would increase costs and threaten jobs, while directors at firms including Toyota, Vauxhall, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have also backed a Remain vote. In a further boost for the Remain camp, football’s Premier League has also supported a vote to stay, with all 20 teams in the league endorsing this stance. Premier League boss Richard Scudamore said there is “an openness about the Premier League which I think it would be completely incongruous if we were to take the opposite position”. However a spokesperson for the Leave campaign said that EU rules “hurt both our ability to develop home grown talent and restrict access to the global talent pool.”
The Day Ahead
- 11.00am – David Cameron visiting a manufacturing firm in Oxfordshire
- 2.30pm – Tribute to Jo Cox MP in the House of Commons followed by memorial service at St Margaret’s Church
- 6.00pm – Sky News EU In or Out with Jeremy Corbyn MP – the Labour leader will be interviewed and face a Q&A with young voters
- 7.00pm – The Guardian debate with Tim Farron MP, Andy Burnham MP and Caroline Lucas MP vs Chris Grayling MP, Daniel Hannan MEP and John Mann MP
- 7.30pm – UKIP rally in Gateshead with Nigel Farage