7 Jun 2016

David Cameron blasts Vote Leave campaign

Remain campaigners were told this morning: “We need to up our game.” One in the campaign said “we are starting to get to panic stations.”

The PM, barred from using Downing Street as a press conference location, clambered up on a roof next to the Savoy Hotel to let rip at the Vote Leave campaign for disparaging the experts who backed his side and for repeatedly giving the voters false information. A preppy East Coast looking family watched from their top floor balcony.

This wasn’t in the grid yesterday. It wasn’t in some Remain campaign grids as recently as this morning. It was an attempt to grab the top of the bulletins and return fire on the Leave camp, notice of intent but also a sign that the Remain team feels they’ve drifted back in the last dangerously

He talked of senior Tories including his ministers uttering “total untruths to con the people,” of speaking “nonsense,” and showing “complacency and nonchalance” about other people’s jobs.

He was asked how such people can be fit to hold ministerial office. He side-stepped that one saying they didn’t have the experience that he has negotiating at the table in Europe. But the insults were getting pretty steamy as was the humid roof garden.

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have written to the PM saying if you think we’re just a pair of liars (my paraphrase) come out and debate us in public. I can’t see David Cameron accepting the invitation to give them more publicity.

At the heart of David Cameron’s argument today was that just about everyone you can think of amongst the world’s big institutions, friendly allies and top economic institutions is arguing on his side.

Another one popped in this week: Robert Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation. The Brazilian former diplomat says Britain could be in for an onslaught of tariffs if it leaves the EU, re-negotiating with countries the EU already has deals with could take decades.

Mr Azevedo insisted that he hadn’t been asked here by David Cameron and hadn’t had contact with No. 10 ahead of his trip but his message will be welcome there. He said that the time is not great for free trade deals and the clout of being in a bigger bloc is worth more than the nimbleness of being alone.

On a different but related note, if you’d wondered why European leaders aren’t piping up in support of David Cameron quite as much as you might’ve expected during this referendum Der Spiegel has an interesting story here.

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