Cheap flights under threat from Brexit, Remain campaign says

Posted On: 
14th February 2016

Campaigners for Britain to remain in the EU have fired another volley of warnings about the consequences of Brexit, including threats to holidaymakers’ safety, trade, and cheap air travel.

Those backing leaving the EU have dismissed the latest interventions as “scaremongering”.

The head of easyJet, Dame Carolyn McCall, said air travel would become more expensive if the UK left the EU and could be “reserved for the elite”.

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“As a result of Britain’s membership, the costs of flights have plummeted, while the range of destinations has soared,” she wrote in the Sunday Times.

“That’s why easyJet believes the benefits far outweigh the frustrations — and why the UK is better off as part of the EU.”

The former boss of travel firm Tui, meanwhile, told the same newspaper that membership of the EU contributed to British holidaymakers’ safety.

Peter Long, who was in charge at the firm when 33 Britons were killed by a gunman in Tunisia, said the EU helped states to “work together in a crisis”, adding: “It would not be like that if we weren’t in a situation where we were as Europe working together.”

Conservative MP and former defence secretary Liam Fox dismissed the warnings: “Those that wish to remain in the EU should make the positive case for the supranational European project rather than frightening people.”

‘QUESTION OF TARIFFS’

A number of foreign politicians have also urged Britain to remain part of the EU.

After US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated his administration’s desire for a “strong United Kingdom staying in a strong EU”, a senior German politician has also weighed in.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Gunther Krichbaum, who chairs the German parliament’s EU affairs committee, told a British Conservative MP last week the UK economy would suffer from Brexit.

He is reported to have told Sir Bill Cash: “You won’t be able to survive, trading conditions will not be in your favour.”

When Mr Cash highlighted the amount that Germany and other EU states export to Britain, Mr Krichbaum is said to have retorted: “There is the question of tariffs.”

Mr Cash replied: “You’re not threatening me, are you?”

Mr Cash has also compared the situation with Britain in the EU to appeasement.

While stressing he was not comparing David Cameron to Neville Chamberlain, he said: “Appeasement means to placate. By accepting the EU as it is now, we are placating them.”

POLLING

Elsewhere, polling by ComRes for the Sunday Mirror and Independent on Sunday shows the public does not expect Mr Cameron to bring back a good deal from next week’s European Council, where he is hoping to secure the reforms to Britain’s membership terms.

Only 21% of people expected the renegotiation to be good, compared to 58% predicting it will be bad.

But there was narrow support for the idea that Britain’s economy benefitted from membership of the EU – by 39% to 36%.