Nicola Sturgeon: David Cameron's Brexit warning 'insults people's intelligence'

Posted On: 
23rd May 2016

Nicola Sturgeon today launched a bitter attack on David Cameron and George Osborne's warning of economic chaos after Brexit - saying it "insults people intelligence".

Nicola Sturgeon hit out at the Treasury during a visit to Westminster
PA Images

The Scottish First Minister hit out as she vowed to make the "positive and progressive case" for Britain to stay in the EU in the run-up to the referendum.

Her comments expose for the first time the splits over strategy among senior figures in the Remain campaign. 

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A Treasury document published this morning forecast that up to 820,000 jobs could be lost, the value of the pound would plummet and wages would fall if the UK votes for Brexit on 23 June.

Mr Osborne said: "With exactly one month to go to the referendum, the British people must ask themselves this question: can we knowingly vote for a recession? Does Britain really want this DIY recession? Because that’s what the evidence shows we’ll get if we vote to leave the EU."

Speaking during a visit to Westminster, Ms Sturgeon said: "I think the Treasury, like they did in the Scottish independence referendum, are likely to be over-stating their case.

"That kind of fear-based campaigning that starts to insult people's intelligence can have a negative effect.

"I have control over how I campaign and I'm going to make a positive and progressive case.

"I don't think it's helpful, and I don't think anyone will be surprised to hear me say this, that when you hear big numbers that appear to be somewhat incredible, that doesn't necessarily help the issue."

Lib Dem grandee Shirley Williams was also heard telling Ms Sturgeon that the Remain campaign had been "awful".

A Vote Leave spokesman said: "Even the most ardent campaigners for Remain recognise that the Treasury forecasts are descending into farce.

"George Osborne set up the Office for Budget Responsibility to keep forecasts neutral from politicians. Now he's got the Treasury pumping out pro-EU propaganda."