EU Referendum

‘Even if we leave the EU, we won’t be able to control immigration’: David Cameron’s stark warning as he turns on rebel Cabinet ministers and makes a last-ditch plea for ‘veering’ Boris Johnson’s support

  • Prime Minister goes on the offensive by declaring war on Tory colleagues
  • Accuses Brexit campaigners of making ‘no effort’ to plan for a post-EU UK
  • He makes direct appeal to Boris Johnson live on TV ahead of London Mayor’s decision at 10pm tonight
  • Cameron tells him not to ‘link arms with Nigel Farage and George Galloway’
  • PM says EU is vital to fight African pirates and to stand up to Putin and Iran
  • But Chris Grayling warns UK will be overwhelmed by migrants if we stay in 

As he went on the offensive after calling the referendum date for June 23, the Prime Minister declared war on his Tory colleagues by claiming Out campaigners had made ‘no effort’ to plan for a post-EU Britain.

He said if voters decide to leave the EU Britain would be forced to continue allowing the EU’s core principle of freedom of movement if it wanted to maintain access to the single access.

And in a direct appeal to persuade the hugely influential Boris Johnson to join the In campaign, Mr Cameron warned live on against ‘linking arms with Nigel Farage and George Galloway’.

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David Cameron arrives for an interview on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, where he will make the case for Britain staying in the EU Nigel Farage, pictured at the BBC this morning, dismissed the PM's claims on migration as 'completely and utterly untrue'

 David Cameron, pictured arriving for the Andrew Marr Show this morning, accused the Out campaign of misleading voters over their claims that leaving the EU would give Britain control over immigration but Nigel Farage, also pictured at the BBC this morning, dismissed the claims as ‘completely and utterly untrue’

 ‘This is bigger than any politician’: PM goes on EU offensive

But his Eurosceptic Cabinet rivals hit straight back, with Chris Grayling warning that Mr Cameron’s own plan to remain in the EU will see Britain’s population soaring to 80million.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage this morning dismissed the claims as ‘completely and utterly untrue’.

 It came on a day when:
  • David Cameron prepares to lose Boris Johnson to the Out campaign as the London Mayor admits he is ‘veering like a shopping trolley’ over which side to join
  • Johnson will announce his much-awaited decision at 10pm tonight
  • His sister Rachel Johnson says his decision will be ‘very significant’ on the campaign 
  • Johnson and Michael Gove met for a secret dinner to discuss plans on Tuesday 
  • Gove writes damning article describing the EU as ‘mired in the past’ 
  • Cameron claims all his Cabinet ministers agreed his Brussels deal was ‘a good one’ 
  • But six Cabinet members and 15 other ministers have committed to the Out campaign
  • But Business Secretary Sajid Javid helps PM by committing to In vote 
  • Up to 144 Tory MPs are rebelling against Cameron and backing Brexit 
  • Cameron dealt a blow as Polish PM claims victory over failed c on migrant benefits

Mr Cameron is braced for losing another big beast as Boris Johnson makes his decision on which side of the referendum campaign to join at 10pm tonight.

The Prime Minister has already lost his close friend and ally Michael Gove to the Out campaign, along with five other Cabinet ministers.

Nigel Farage, pictured on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, defended sharing a platform with Respect party leader George Galloway

 Mr Cameron attacked Mr Gove and Mr Grayling this morning, saying: ‘I’m sure some people will try and paint it as ‘the Establishment against the rebel alliance’, well you don’t get much more Establishment than the Lord Chancellor and the Leader of the House of Commons’.

In a further blow for Mr Cameron, the Tory party’s London mayoral candidate also joined the Out campaign yesterday, along with the highly respected justice minister Dominic Raab – taking the estimated total Tory MPs committed to backing Brexit to 144.

But the Prime Minister was given a boost today as a poll for the Mail on Sunday showed the In campaign had a 15 per cent lead.

And in another victory for the Tory leader, the previously outspoken Eurosceptic Business Secretary Sajid Javid wrote in the Mail on Sunday that he will vote for Britain to stay in the EU, although he said he will be doing so ‘with a heavy heart and no enthusiasm’.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Mr Cameron made a remarkable last-ditch appeal to Mr Johnson, claiming that membership of the EU was essential in the fight against Somalian pirates, standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and forcing Iran to abandon nuclear weapons.

Boris Johnson, pictured at Downing Street on Wednesday, is said to be 'veering like a shopping trolley' on which side of the EU referendum campaign to join Michael Gove, pictured leaving Boris Johnson's home on Tuesday evening, dealt a major blow to his close friend David Cameron by declaring support for Britain leaving the EU yesterday
 Michael Gove, pictured right leaving Boris Johnson’s home on Tuesday evening, dealt a major blow to his close friend David Cameron by declaring support for Britain leaving the EU yesterday. The Mayor of London, pictured left, is said to be ‘veering like a shopping trolley’ on whether to join Gove in backing Brexit

 Sources close to the Mayor of London revealed that he admits he is ‘veering like a shopping trolley’ over which side of the referendum campaign to join.

His sister, Rachel Johnson, this morning rejected accusations that voting for Brexit would be a ‘betraying’ Londoners, insisting his decision was ‘enormously difficult’ and predicted his announcement would have a ‘very significant’ on the referendum result.

Pleading live on TV with Mr Johnson to sign up to the In campaign, the Prime Minister said: ‘I would say to Boris what I’d say to everybody else: We will be safer, we’ll be stronger, we’ll be better off inside the EU.

‘I think the prospect of linking arms with Nigel Farage and George Galloway and taking a leap into the dark is the wrong step for our country and if Boris, if others really care about being able to get things done in our world, then the EU is one of the ways in which we get them done.’

‘We’re members of Nato, we’re members of the UN, we’re members of the IMF, I care about Britain being able to fix stuff – whether it’s stopping pirates off the African coast, whether it’s closing down illegal migration routes, closing down smugglers, whether it’s standing up to Vladimir Putin with sanctions, whether it’s the sanctions we put in place to get Iran to abandon its nuclear plan – having that seat in the EU, just as being a member of Nato is a vital way that we project our values, our power and our influence in the world.’

Warning that leaving the EU would not signal an end of freedom of movement, Mr Cameron said: ‘If we were to leave the EU and we were to try to insist on full access to the single market, like Norway has for instance, every other country that’s got that sort of deal has had to accept the free movement of people and a contribution to the EU budget.

‘It would be ironic if we left the EU, negotiated our way back into that full access of the single market and then wouldn’t be able to exercise those welfare restricts that I’ve just negotiated.

‘What Nigel Farage is saying – and this important of course – there is the option of having a trade deal with the EU.

‘But if you look at all of the trade deals they do not cover every industry and this is crucial.

‘I think this goes to the heart of the argument: if we remain in a reformed EU, you know what you’re going to get, you know how to do business, you know how to create jobs, you know how to continue with our economic recovery.

‘So it could cost jobs, it could mean overseas businesses not investing in Britain. It would be a step in the dark, a real risk of uncertainty and that’s just the last thing we need in our country right now.’

He added in an interview with the Sunday Times that Out campaigners ‘have got to explain what out is,’ accusing them of making ‘no effort’ so far to offer a plan for what leaving the EU would mean for the economy, immigration and trade.

But Mr Grayling, leader of the House of Commons, warned that measures such as George Osborne’s new living wage, which will be introduced in April at a rate of £7.20 per hour and will rise to £9 by 2020, will encourage even more EU workers to come to the UK and the Government would be powerless to the population soaring to 80m.

‘The introduction of the national living wage will have a boosting effect on the attraction of Britain as a place to come and work and I don’t see any obvious sign of the migration pressures on the UK ending anytime soon,’ he said.

‘I think we do need to take steps to place some limits on those pressures for the future. We clearly can’t do that within the European Union.’

He added: ‘The reality is that all the projections show our population rising to 75 or 80 million.

‘I don’t believe we can absorb that as a country. We don’t have the houses, we don’t have the school places, we don’t have the hospitals, we don’t have the GPs. We don’t have the space on our roads and on our railways.

 Farage explains his unlikely alliance with George Galloway

 The Prime Minister, pictured arriving at the BBC studios for his Andrew Marr appearance this morning, said the Out campaign had made 'no effort' to plan for a post-EU Britain
 The Prime Minister, pictured arriving at the BBC studios for his Andrew Marr appearance this morning, said the Out campaign had made ‘no effort’ to plan for a post-EU Britain

 The PM, pictured leaving the BBC studios, returns to Downing Street as he braces himself to losing the influential Boris Johnson to the Out campaign, which would deal a major blow to his hopes of staying in the EU 

 The PM, pictured leaving the BBC studios, returns to Downing Street as he braces himself to losing the influential Boris Johnson to the Out campaign, which would deal a major blow to his hopes of staying in the EU

 ‘It’s imperative for us that we have the ability to set limits on the number of people that come to live and work here.’

The support for the Prime Minister in today’s poll – the first since Mr Cameron returned from Brussels on Friday evening with his deal, appears to have little to do with his claim to have won concessions from fellow EU leaders last week.

More than six out of ten say the new EU deal has not affected the way they will vote in the referendum.

Nearly one in two voters want to ‘Remain’ in the EU; with one in three in favour of ‘Leaving’ and one in five undecided.

 Cameron says Cabinet will strongly recommend staying in EU

 One by one, the six rebel Ministers who plan to defy David Cameron by campaigning for the UK to leave the EU, including Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, Priti Patel and Iain Duncan Smith (l-r)  told him to his face why his new, hard-fought deal with other member states was not good enough

 A total of 18 per cent say it has made them more likely to vote ‘Leave’ against 15 per cent who are more likely to vote ‘Remain’.


‘Britain banged the table and aggressively demanded the status quo. The EU, after some mandatory faux-agonising, agreed.’

Tory MEP Dan Hannan

‘Is this delay in Brussels just so that Cameron can serve up Eton Mess for pudding?’

Labour MP Chris Bryant

‘Oh, let’s give them a few little morsels so they’ll go away happy like children.’

Tory MP Adam Afriyie

‘That’s it?’

Ex-Welsh Secretary David Jones

‘Enthusiasm from Grassroots ‘Out’ activists is in stark contrast to the scaremongering of the #Remain-ians & #ProjectFear!’

Tory MP Liam Fox

However, claims by anti-EU campaigners that Mr Cameron made a hash of the negotiations are not endorsed by the poll.

A total of 35 per cent say he did well, against 30 per cent who say he did badly.

Similarly, there is evidence that the Prime Minister’s claim to have won key new powers to curb migrants’ benefits have won approval.

A total of 26 per cent believe his ’emergency brake’ on in-work benefits for EU migrants will dissuade some EU nationals from coming here; against 13 per cent who disagree.

A total of 32 per cent believe the curbs on child benefit payments for EU migrants will cut immigration; against 12 per cent who disagree.

However, neither are seen as a panacea: approximately one in two believe neither measure will reduce the number of EU foreign nationals coming here.

Mr Cameron has insisted he will not resign as Prime Minister if he loses the referendum.

But if he is forced out, Boris Johnson is the favourite to replace him.

He scores 18 per cent, followed by Theresa May on 11 per cent and George Osborne on eight per cent.

Survation interviewed 1,004 people on the telephone yesterday.


David Cameron, pictured on the Andrew Marr Show this morning, said holding the EU referendum was an act of sovereignty in itself as he hailed his EU deal reached with European leaders late on Friday evening 

 With the opinion polls see-sawing – and up to 40 per cent of voters saying they could change their mind between now and June 23 – the EU referendum is up for grabs.

Harold Macmillan famously declared that ‘events, dear boy, events’ were the biggest threat to a leader’s plans. Now, another Conservative Prime Minister will be hoping the historic vote is not decided by factors beyond Downing Street’s control…


Last summer’s migrant crisis, which saw hundreds of thousands of Syrians and North Africans making the perilous journey by boat to Europe, triggered a boost in the polls for the Out camp.

Reports that the same migrants were responsible for sex attacks in Germany, while others were living in the ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais, increased the impact.

Last year, an astonishing 1.83 million people illegally entered the EU, over six times as many as the previous year.

This is why Downing Street was so keen to hold the referendum in June. The next possible date was after the summer, by which time the migrant situation could have deteriorated even further.

This year’s crisis is predicted to be even more serious than last year. If so, it could hand victory to the ‘Out’ campaign.


David Cameron needs Chancellor George Osborne – who is also the Government supremo trying to engineer a win for the ‘In’ campaigners – to deliver a feelgood Budget in May. If voters are positive about their personal financial circumstances, they are less likely to vote for change.

More important will be the performance of the wider EU economy. A repeat of the eurozone crisis of two years ago, when Greece and other southern European governments were on the brink of collapse, would reinforce the notion that Britain’s economy would thrive outside the bloc – and with it a burst of job creation.

‘In’ campaigners will insist that British jobs are heavily tied to our trade links with our EU partners.

In a speech yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: ‘Being part of Europe has brought Britain investment, jobs and protection for workers.’

But ‘Out’ campaigners will highlight sluggish growth rates across the EU as a reason to break free.


Downing Street is planning to claim that if Britain leaves the EU, we will be less protected against threats such as Putin’s Russia because hostile powers are intimidated by the unity of the 28-state EU. ‘Out’ campaigners will counter this argument by highlighting the security risks presented by lax border controls.

The terror attacks in Paris last November accentuated these fears, particularly after it was revealed that some of the perpetrators had posed as migrants to enter Europe.

Home Secretary Theresa May has argued that being part of the EU is a major benefit to British security services as a result of cross-border intelligence sharing and valuable reciprocal agreements such as the European Arrest Warrant.

Cameron has tried to win over London Mayor Boris Johnson to the ‘In’ campaign by promising to enshrine in British law a pledge guaranteeing the ultimate supremacy of Parliament over Brussels – and hopes voters will also be persuaded.

The Prime Minister was today expected to promise to make clear that the British Supreme Court outranks the European Court of Justice, similar to an idea first put forward by Johnson last year as the price for his support for the ‘In’ group.

He says it is critical the sovereignty of the House of Commons is ‘put beyond doubt’.

Legal experts say the move is pointless as Parliament already has the power to ignore EU law if it chooses to, it is just that the sheer volume of Brussels legislation makes it impractical – but it may have some impact on voters’ sentiment due to the ‘political theatre’ it represents.


The Prime Minister is planning to make British influence on the world stage a key strand of his campaign – arguing that we have far more clout combined with our EU partners, rather than as a ‘lone wolf’. It explains the slogan of the ‘In’ campaign group: ‘Britain Stronger in Europe.’

The arguments will be played out whenever a diplomatic crisis strikes, such as attempts to settle the war in Syria, but are likely to pivot on economic considerations.

The ‘In’ camp says that Britain is better able to open up new trade markets by acting with other EU countries. The ‘Out’ camp says British businesses are dragged down by Brussels’ red tape and would flourish by forging fresh alliances within the Commonwealth.

They say our influence within the EU is illusory because we are routinely outvoted on important decisions in Brussels, winning only eight per cent of the votes on vital EU decisions.


The ‘In’ camp believes its trump card is ‘Project Fear’ – making sure voters are too frightened to make a ‘leap in the dark’ and instead plump for the security of the status quo.

They will say we cannot risk being cut off by our EU partners.

‘Out’ campaigners will argue the UK is risking its future by being subservient to Brussels and make reassuring noises about life outside the EU. As leading ‘Outer’, Cabinet Minister Chris Grayling said yesterday: ‘Does anybody actually think that on the day after Britain leaves the EU, the Germans are going to turn around and say, “We’re not going to sell you BMWs any more”?

Cameron: ‘The British people must now decide’ to stay in EU
Boris Johnson's wife, lawyer Marina Wheeler - an outspoken critic of the PM's deal - leaves the family home before Michael Gove arrives A smiling Justice Secretary emerges from Boris's front door - did he convince the London Mayor to campaign with him?

 Left, Boris Johnson’s wife, lawyer Marina Wheeler – an outspoken critic of the PM’s deal – leaves the family home before Michael Gove arrives. Right, a smiling Justice Secretary emerges from Boris’s front door

Perhaps the pair were expecting a long, sweaty discussion to rival the EU negotiations, as a courier arrives to deliver new shirts The meeting was also attended by Mr Gove's wife, Sarah Vine

Left, perhaps the pair were expecting a long, sweaty discussion to rival the EU negotiations, as a courier arrives to deliver new shirts. Right, the meeting was also attended by Mr Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine

 Boris Johnson had secret talks with Cabinet rebel Michael Gove last week on whether to defy David Cameron over the EU referendum, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The two dined at the London Mayor’s home on Tuesday, where they agreed the Prime Minister’s new EU deal was ‘thin’.

Shortly afterwards, Justice Secretary Mr Gove shocked No 10 by joining the ‘Out’ campaign to cut Britain’s ties with Brussels. The disclosure of the secret dinner – and the pair’s sharp criticism of the outcome of Mr Cameron’s negotiations – will fuel speculation about which side Mr Johnson will back in the forthcoming EU referendum.

Yesterday, Mr Gove and five fellow Ministers staged a dramatic revolt at a crisis Cabinet meeting on the referendum – the first time the Cabinet has assembled on a Saturday for more than half a century.

Friends of the Mayor said last night he was still ‘agonising’ over his stance on the issue.

No 10 aides fear that if Mr Johnson follows Mr Gove’s surprise ‘defection’ to the ‘Out’ camp, the two formidable politicians could inflict a humiliating defeat on Mr Cameron.

Mr Gove’s meeting with Mr Johnson started after the Justice Secretary arrived at the Mayor’s home in Islington, North London, at 8pm on Tuesday. He did not leave until 11.30pm. A well-placed source said the two men agreed that they were both ‘disappointed’ by the outcome of Mr Cameron’s attempts to win back powers from Brussels.

In particular, they felt let down by the way that Mr Johnson’s call for the Prime Minister to find a way to enshrine the supremacy of the British Parliament over the EU had only achieved limited success.

Mr Cameron’s inclusion of the topic in the talks was seen by many as a ploy that could pave the way for Eurosceptic Mr Johnson to endorse the Prime Minister for having heeded his suggestion. But Mr Gove, the Minister tasked with making such moves legally watertight, privately admitted the plans were impractical: it was one of the main reasons he decided to back the ‘Out’ campaign.

Mr Gove was accompanied by his journalist wife Sarah Vine, while Mr Johnson’s wife – human rights lawyer Marina Wheeler – had been at the house earlier that evening.

In a scathing magazine article two weeks ago, Ms Wheeler said the Prime Minister had done precious little to limit the ‘untenable’ power of the European Court of Justice. The supposed reassurances the PM secured with Brussels ‘raise more questions than they answer,’ she said. Mr Johnson’s aides stressed his wife was speaking in a personal capacity, but her outspoken view was said by some to reflect her husband’s opinion.


John Whittingdale, Theresa Villiers, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling, Iain Duncan Smith and Priti Patel (left to right) attend the launch of the Vote Leave campaign

 As soon as yesterday’s special Cabinet meeting had concluded, Michael Gove slipped out of the back entrance of Downing Street and headed for a rendezvous with the other five ‘Outers’. At the headquarters of the Vote Leave group, based in a tower block on the south bank of the Thames, the Justice Secretary posed with his fellow ‘freedom fighters’ – as they have been dubbed by admirers – as they clutched a signed campaign banner. They are:


The Culture Secretary is the last authentic Thatcherite in the Cabinet: in the 1980s he worked as her private secretary and has remained loyal to her ideology – including her Euroscepticism – since. An unlikely-seeming Meatloaf fan, Whittingdale was a tenacious chairman of the Commons Media Committee, where he subjected figures such as Rupert Murdoch to forensic interrogation. He is said to be thoroughly enjoying his portfolio, which includes a root-and-branch review of the BBC’s funding.


The Northern Ireland Secretary is a Major’s daughter who is descended from Edward I. Along with Chris Grayling, the Commons Leader, she is understood to have spent the past six months agonising over whether to leave the Cabinet to campaign for an ‘Out’ vote. However, after a chat with Mr Cameron before Christmas, she was reassured she would be allowed to campaign from within the Cabinet – sparing the PM an awkward reshuffle. Her stance has caused controversy in Northern Ireland, with local politicians claiming an EU exit could stoke sectarian tensions.


The Justice Secretary is the star name out of the six – and the one with the closest personal relationship to the Prime Minister. An ex-Times newspaper executive and author, who has been friends with Mr Cameron for more than a decade, he was part of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ who encouraged him to run for the Tory leadership. Throughout his Cabinet career, Gove has been Mr Cameron’s first choice to help him prepare for the weekly ordeal of PMQs, amusing No 10 staffers with his razor-sharp rejoinders in practice sessions.

Gove was a controversial reforming Education Secretary until moved to the Whips’ Office after private party polling suggested he was an electoral liability.

The move caused a ‘wobble’ in his and Mr Cameron’s friendship.

Mr Gove said he had wrestled with his conscience before announcing he would back Out but later posed with Vote Leave activists having deciding to make the leap away from his old friend Mr Cameron


Mr Gove’s predecessor as Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling is a long-term Eurosceptic. The Manchester United fanatic was deployed by the Tories as an energetic ‘attack dog’ during their long period in Opposition, harrying Labour – including the Blairs – over their personal business affairs. The 6ft 5in Leader of the House has a cool relationship with Gove, who has reversed many of his justice reforms.


Few people were surprised by Iain Duncan Smith’s decision to back the Out campaign: the Work and Pensions Secretary has been a long-standing critic of the EU and supporter of tighter immigration controls. The former Scots Guards officer’s undistinguished period as Tory leader between 2001 and 2003 is remembered largely for the conference speech he gave in which he portrayed himself as ‘a quiet man’ who was ‘turning up the volume’. Duncan Smith has since rebuilt his reputation by becoming a crusading campaigner for social reform, which prompted David Cameron to put him in charge of the Government’s welfare shake-up.


Priti Patel, who answers to Mr Duncan Smith as Employment Minister, is regarded by the former Tory leader’s team as the up-and-coming poster girl for Cabinet Eurosceptics. As the daughter of Ugandan immigrants who came to this country in the 1970s to seek sanctuary from Idi Amin, she says that the welcome they received here has instilled in her a fierce British patriotism. Patel, whose political heroine is Margaret Thatcher, started out in her Westminster career working for Sir James Goldsmith’s Eurosceptic Referendum Party in the 1990s, and sees her current stance as being consistent with her long-term political beliefs.

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