Sir John Major, the former Conservative Prime Minister, has criticised the “deceit” of Vote Leave in an interview with Andrew Marr.
When asked if he was accusing people of lying Major said:
“I’m talking of the Leave campaign; I’m not necessarily talking of individuals. I’ll tell you exactly. I think throughout the whole of my political life people have regarded me as being guilty of understatement. I am angry at the way the British people are being misled. This is much more important than a general election. This is going to affect people, their livelihoods, their future for a very long time to come. If they are given honest, straightforward facts and they decide to leave, then that is the decision the British people take. But if they decide to leave on the basis of inaccurate information, inaccurate information known to be inaccurate, then I regard that as deceitful. Now, I may be wrong, but that is how I see their campaign. This is so important for once I’m not prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to other people, I’m going to say exactly what I think, and I think this is a deceitful campaign. In terms of what they’re saying about immigration, a really depressing and awful campaign. They are misleading people to an extraordinary extent”.
Asked about Vote Leave’s claim about Turkey joining the EU, Major added:
“The Turks have been negotiating for the best part of 30 years a whole series of different things that have to be negotiated. They’ve negotiated one of about 30. Even if they were able to reach agreement with the European Union, any one nation in the European Union could veto their joining. The French have already said they would have a referendum on that issue. The Germans almost certainly will follow suit. Turkey will not be in the European Union for a very, very long time, if ever, for a whole series of practical reasons. And the Leave campaign know that. That’s the point, they know that”.
Boris Johnson, speaking on the same programme, was asked by Andrew Marr if figures such as Major were trying to undermine his own leadership chances and if he was only supporting Brexit for his own political reasons. Johnson replied:
“No, nonsense. Absolutely nonsense and I think that the –
obviously there is going to be a temptation by one side or other
and particularly the Remain side to try to turn it into a personality
driven conversation. My view about the EU has changed but that
is because the EU has changed out of all recognition and it is now
totally different from what we signed up to in 1972 and it is
turning into a federal state, we’ll be safer taking back control and
voting Leave on June 23rd”.