Sir John Major: Brexiteers are the 'grave-diggers of prosperity'

Posted On: 
22nd June 2016

Sir John Major has branded Leave campaigners “the grave-diggers of our prosperity”. 

Sir John Major appeared alongside David Cameron, Harriet Harman and Marvin Rees in Bristol
Geoff Caddick/PA Wire

The former prime minister made his final intervention of the referendum on the eve of polling day and rounded on critics of David Cameron and the Remain campaign.

Sir John has been an outspoken critic of senior Conservatives who are backing Brexit throughout the build-up to the vote. 

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He has previously dubbed Boris Johnson a “court jester” and claimed the NHS would be as safe with the senior Leave Tories “as a pet hamster would be with a hungry python”.

He renewed his attack today, warning that Brexit supporters would “have to account” for the fate of the country after the UK leaves the EU.

In an appearance in Bristol alongside David Cameron and Labour figures Harriet Harman and Marvin Rees, he said: “If our nation does vote to leave tomorrow, we must respect their decision.

"But – but – if they vote to leave on the basis of half-truths and untruths and misunderstandings then pretty soon, the grave-diggers of our prosperity will have some very serious questions to answer.

“They will have to account for what they have said and done but that will be of no consolation.

"For we will be out, out for good, diminished as an influence on the world; a truly Great Britain, shrunk down to a little England, perhaps without Scotland, perhaps with a grumpy Wales and certainly with a Northern Ireland divided from the south with the border controls that would then be the edge of the European Union.

“That is not how our island story should go.”

As well as the implications for the UK, Sir John warned that Brexit would leave Europe as a whole “shrunk and diminished”

He added: “How ironic it would be if Britain, if our nation, the nation that once by her steadfastness saved Europe, were to end up as the architect of disarray right across Europe.”


Sir John also took the chance to pay tribute to the Prime Minister for “putting the country before self and the country before party”, and hit out at the criticism of ‘Project Fear’.

“He’s put facts before our nation, he’s warned of the dangers, and that is his duty as Prime Minister,” he said.

“He cannot ignore the dangers that we face and it is his responsibility to put those dangers before people.

"And in return for doing that, he’s faced a great deal of opposition and, sometimes, abuse from people who, frankly, we might have expected better from.”