Britain's Cameron dismisses suggestion he might be losing EU Brexit referendum debate

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends a press conference on the European Union Referendum, in London on June 7, 2016.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends a press conference on the European Union Referendum, in London on June 7, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - British Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed suggestions on Tuesday (June 7) that he was worried his campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union was losing ahead of a June 23 referendum.

After several recent polls suggested the "Leave" camp was gaining momentum, Cameron unexpectedly convened a news conference during which he attacked some of his opponents'arguments as "untruths".

Asked by a reporter whether he was worried he was losing, Cameron said: "Not at all. What I'm worried about, what I'm concerned about, is that people are being told things that aren't correct."

The main figures in the official "Leave" campaign are senior members of Cameron's Conservative Party, including former London mayor Boris Johnson, Justice Secretary Michael Gove and several other cabinet ministers.

Cameron appeared alone with no campaign logos on a sunny roof terrace with sweeping views of the London skyline and the Houses of Parliament in the background - a presentation that appeared designed to highlight his prime ministerial authority.

Both sides in the campaign have accused each other of playing fast and loose with the facts in their desperation to win the historic referendum, which will have far-reaching consequences for the economy and politics in Britain and beyond.

Cameron cited several arguments made by the Leave campaign and dismissed them one after the other. For example, he said it was untrue to suggest that Britain, which is not part of the euro zone, would have to bail out countries that use the euro.

"It's so important to say to people: 'Don't take a decision to leave the EU and damage our economy on the basis of clearly false information that you're being given,'" Cameron said.

Asked why his own cabinet colleagues on the Leave side were getting things so wrong, he said: "This organisation (the EU) can be very frustrating ... There are times it drives me crazy. But it shouldn't drive us so crazy that we start making factual errors about what we do face," he said.

"It is not for me to say why they make these factual errors. But I think it is for me to call it out and say that I think this is an important moment in the campaign. Don't make this choice on the basis of false information."

Cameron will answer questions about the EU issue in a live TV programme later on Tuesday, alongside Nigel Farage, leader of the anti-EU party UKIP.