Brexit referendum

Think of future generations, vote to stay in EU: Cameron

They will be left to cope with weaker economy if Brexit camp wins, he says in impassioned plea ahead of ballot

British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking to the press in front of 10 Downing street in London on June 21. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • British Prime Minister David Cameron warned yesterday that a vote to leave the EU in a referendum tomorrow would damage the economy, representing a "huge risk" for jobs and families.

In an impassioned plea ahead of the ballot, Mr Cameron asked Britons to think of future generations left to cope in a Britain outside the European Union if the Brexit camp wins.

"Above all, it is about our economy," the Prime Minister said outside his official residence in London's Downing Street. "It will be stronger if we stay. It will be weaker if we leave. And that is a huge risk to Britain, to British families, to British jobs," he said.

"Europe is not perfect," the British leader conceded. "Do think about the hopes and dreams of your children and your grandchildren," he added. "If we vote out, that is it. It is irreversible. We will leave Europe for good and the next generation will have to live with the consequences."

The latest opinion polls suggested that momentum that had swung back towards the "Remain" camp after the killing of British lawmaker Jo Cox, who supported EU membership, had begun to subside.

In polls released overnight, two placed the "Remain" side narrowly ahead while a third indicated that the "Leave" camp could prevail in the referendum.

An average of the last six opinion polls compiled by the WhatUKThinks website has the two camps at 50 per cent each.

But the websites of six major bookmakers showed the odds heavily pointing to a "Remain" vote, with the chances of Britain staying put at nearly 80 per cent.

Billionaire George Soros, who famously profited by betting against the pound in a 1992 currency crisis, has predicted that the sterling will plunge at least 15 per cent if Britain votes to leave the EU.

"If Britain leaves the EU, it will have at least one very clear and immediate effect that will touch every household: The value of the pound would decline precipitously," the 85-year-old wrote in the Guardian newspaper.

Billionaire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wrote on his company's website that Britain should remain in the EU. "If you vote Leave, you are not kicking the establishment in the b***s - you are shooting yourself in the foot," he wrote.

Ten Nobel Prize-winning economists also wrote to the Guardian to say that economic arguments are in favour of remaining in the EU.

The British media was split on whether to remain in or leave the EU.

The Remain-supporting Daily Mirror suggested that supermarket bills would go up in case of a Brexit, while the pro-Brexit Sun said "stone-throwing migrants" had stormed the French port of Calais to try to gain access to Britain. Its headline: "Let us in before you vote out."

"Vote against a divided nation that turns inwards," the Guardian said, but the Daily Telegraph argued: "A world of opportunity awaits a fully independent United Kingdom."



More reports on Britain's EU referendum online at

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2016, with the headline Think of future generations, vote to stay in EU: Cameron. Subscribe