Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has accused businesses, banks, and foreign politicians of trying to bully Britain into staying in the EU. Writing in The Daily Mail on Friday, Duncan Smith, who used to lead the Conservatives, says the Remain campaign is being run in an “acrimonious manner.”
Here is what he had to say, the added emphasis is ours.
“We’ve seen a series of stunts, whereby big businesses, big banks, and powerful politicians from other EU member states seek to bully the British people into believing their jobs and security are at risk. The impartiality and integrity of the civil service — on whose credibility the whole institution of Government depends — has even been called into question by Parliament.”
Duncan Smith, commonly referred to as IDS, is an important member of the Conservative government. When people like him use strong language in this way to attack a campaign that many of their colleagues are supporting, it makes it more and more likely there is going to be a major fallout in the party following the June 23 referendum.
While Duncan Smith doesn’t directly accuse his own leader David Cameron of bullying, he does come very close to accusing the senior members of his party who want Britain to stay in the EU of being responsible for the negative nature of the Remain campaign.
According to IDS, Remain supporters know Cameron’s EU renegotiation was a failure, so they have resorted to bullying tactics. “The terms of the debate seem to have been shifted,” he writes.
Duncan Smith’s article shows an increasing frustration among eurosceptic ministers that their own party is painting them as a threat to Britain. This is what he has to say about people who are campaigning in that manner.
“The biggest danger to the European Union comes not from those who advocate departure, but from those who denounce such thinking as heretical and dangerous.”
It’s obvious Duncan Smith is talking about Cameron and some of the most senior members of the Cabinet. And, to make sure they are aware of that, he adds a line warning that labelling people like him as heretical and dangerous will come with consequences for the party.
“Such desperate and unsubstantiated claims are now being made that they begin to damage the very integrity of those who make them in the eyes of the public.”
Duncan Smith isn’t the only Tory with these fears. Speaking at the Scottish Conservative conference on Friday, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox claimed people who are “talking Britain down” don’t understand the country.
Conservative colleagues on both sides of the EU debate have just about managed to keep their resentment of each other under the surface for now. But as we get closer to June 23, there is a real danger that things could become more acrimonious. And these things have real consequences — Business Insider has previously discussed how a rift within the party could lead to eurosceptic Conservative Party members voting in Fox as their next leader.
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