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Battle Lines Drawn as Britain Squares up for EU Vote

15 April 2016 13:15
Battle Lines Drawn as Britain Squares up for EU Vote

Battle Lines Drawn as Britain Squares up for EU Vote


Activists hit the streets Friday for the first official day of campaigning over Britain’s “Brexit” referendum, firing the starting pistol on a tense 10-week battle over Britain’s future in Europe.

Opinion polls suggest the British public is evenly split ahead of the June 23 vote, which could bring down Prime Minister David Cameron and plunge one of the world’s leading economies into uncertainty.

The referendum — Britons’ first direct say on the divisive issue of Europe in more than 40 years — is also being nervously watched in Washington and Brussels, where a “Brexit” would add to a long list of EU crises.

“We absolutely think we’re going to win it,” Peter Reeve, a spokesman for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), told AFP as he campaigned in Peterborough — a market town in eastern England where an influx of East European workers has angered many locals.

Charismatic London mayor Boris Johnson will lead a “Brexit blitz” with rallies on Friday and Saturday where he will try to persuade Britons that they could thrive if cut free from EU red tape.

Johnson has compared leaving the bloc to escaping from prison, saying the referendum was “like the jailer has accidentally left the door of the jail open and people can see the sunlit lands beyond,” AFP reported.

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