Sir John Major: Brexit campaign is squalid and dishonest

Posted On: 
5th June 2016

Sir John Major today launched a furious attack on the "squalid" campaign to take Britain out of the European Union.

Sir John Major arrive at the BBC this morning
Credit: 
PA Images

The former Prime Minister accused Brexiteers of lying to voters by conducting a "fundamentally dishonest" bid to secure a Leave vote on 23 June.

Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, the Conservative grandee also claimed leaving the EU would amount to playing "Russian Roulette" with the UK's future.

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Sir John - who waged war with Tory eurosceptics throughout his time in charge of the party - said: "The Leave campaign have said absolutely nothing to the British people, and what they have said about leaving is fundamentally dishonest and its dishonest about the costs of Europe.

"And on the subject that they have veered towards, having lost the economic argument, of immigration, I think their campaign is verging on the squalid, as I have said so before and I am happy to say so again.

"What they have done since they have begun the campaign is to feed out to the British people a whole galaxy of inaccurate and frankly untrue information and what they have not done is tell us what would be the position if we were to vote to leave."

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Sir John also launched a bitter assault on his Tory colleagues Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Gove for claiming that Brexit would free up hundreds of millions of pounds a week to plough into the NHS.

He said: "The concept that the people running the Brexit campaign would care for the National Health Service is a rather odd one. Michael Gove wanted to privatise it, Boris wanted to charge people for using it and Iain Duncan Smith wanted a social insurance system. The NHS is about as safe with them as a pet hamster in the presence of a hungry python, so I don’t think that’s very wise."

Sir John said leaving the EU would be "chaotic and damaging" and would affect the livelihoods of ordinary voters "for a very long time to come".

He also insisted the result of the referendum was far more important than the future of the warring Tory party.

"​All I can say is whether the Conservative party divides or not is one thing we must look at in the future, but that is not as important as the decision that we have to make.

"This is not about political parties, it's not about the elite, it's about the every day man and woman in the street and their children and their grandchildren. It is their future that we will play Russian Roulette with if we leave the EU."