UK Prime Minister David Cameron has warned voters against risking the economy and voting in favor of a “little England.” In the same televised Q&A, leading euroskeptic Nigel Farage said he thought the EU was “done for.”
The prime minster cited the example of the car industry, stressing that British exporters would face new tariffs if the UK were to vote for the so-called “Brexit.” He said UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage – who had appeared earlier on the same show – was wrong to claim that leaving the bloc would not damage the economy.
“He’s so keen to get us out of Europe that he’s prepared to sacrifice jobs and wealth on the way,” Cameron told audience members at the event, televised by British commercial broadcaster ITV.
“I worry if we leave that we’re going to see our economy suffer because we’re going to lose access to the absolutely vital market that we have,” said Cameron, responding to a question about what Britain would look like in 20 years time, should his side lose. “I would say the right thing to do, the British thing to do is to fight for a Great Britain inside a European Union, and don’t take the Nigel Farage ‘little England’ option.”
“That’s not the country we want, it’s not the country we want for our children, and I don’t think it’s right for our country.”
Cameron also stressed that he had gained concessions during negotiations with Brussels and other EU states in the run up to the June 23 referendum vote, ahead of which debate has beenfocused on immigration and the economy. The prime minister said he had helped Britain escape the prospect of an “ever closer union.”
‘Independent, but good Europeans’
Earlier, and facing the audience separately, UKIP leader Nigel Farage had said that individuals who predicted an economic downturn in the event of a Brexit had “been wrong before and they’re wrong again.” Farage pointed to Britain’s decision to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which saw interest rates spike, as well Britain’s decision not to join the euro – as examples where the “same gang” had made false predictions.
When asked the same question as Cameron about what the EU would look like in 20 years should his side lose, Farage said he believed the bloc would not survive in any case. Instead, the euroskeptic leader said he imagined a friendly Europe made of self-ruling states.
“I want us to get back our independence, but to say, we’ll be good Europeans,” said Farage.
“We’ll trade with Europe, co-operate with Europe, but govern ourselves, and I believe when we do that, the rest of Europe will do that too.
“A happy Europe will be a democratic Europe of sovereign states who are good neighbors in the same street. That’s what I want to get us to.”
UKIP leader denies Cologne scaremongering
Farage also denied that he was guilty of scaremongering in recent comments about migration and sexual assault. The UKIP leader had warned last Friday that Britain was “far less safe” because of open-door EU immigration, which would heighten the chance of attacks in the UK similar to those in Cologne at New Year.
“I’m used to being demonized because I’ve taken on the establishment,” said Farage, stressing his belief that Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a mistake by inviting migrants to Germany.
“A very large number of young, single males have settled in Germany and in Sweden, who come from cultures where attitudes towards women are different. I haven’t scaremongered in any way, at all.”