Former UK Prime Minister John Major has slammed the campaign to get Britain out of the European Union as “deceitful,” “misleading,” and “nonsense on stilts.”
Speaking on The BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday, Major said he was “angry at the way British people are being misled” by the Leave campaign.
“This is so important, for once, I’m not prepared to give the benefit of the doubt by the people. I’m going to say what I think and I think this is a deceitful campaign. And, in terms of what they are saying about immigration — a really depressing and awful campaign. They are misleading people to an extraordinary extent,” he added.
Major said members of the Leave campaign had made “utterly false” suggestions that if Turkey was to join the EU, the entire Turkish population of 88 million people would want to migrate to Britain if the UK voted Remain.
He said it was highly unlikely Turkey would be in the European Union in the next decade or two and even if Turkey did join, Britain sits outside Schengen, the area of free movement.
“And in any event, even if they do, is there really any suggestion that all 88 million Turks would want to come here, apparently for a higher national living wage? On one hand, migrants are depressing wages, on the other hand, they are flooding here to get higher national wages,” Major said.
“It’s nonsense. Nonsense on stilts.”
He also criticised the Leave campaign’s suggestion that the NHS would be in better shape if Britain left the EU as “fatuous and a deceit.”
He added that the NHS is as safe with Leave campaigners Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, and Ian Duncan Smith as a “pet hamster with a hungry python.”
“People are being invited to vote for a pig in a poke,” Major said, before turning his attention squarely on the claim on Johnson’s campaign bus that had suggested Britain sends £350 million a week to Brussels. That figure has been widely-contested because it doesn’t include the rebate Britain also receives.
Major said: “I’m not personalising this, though I find it very difficult to understand how he can justify the £350 million that he has on his battle bus. If they cant be straightforward and honest on a clear cut matter of fact like that, upon what else can we trust them?”
Johnson later appeared on the same show saying Major’s suggestions that his campaign bus’ numbers were incorrect and that the wider Leave campaign was, in Major’s assessment, “deceitful” were “not true.”
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