EU vote is no 'parlour game', UK finance minister warns

26th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Finance minister George Osborne warned Friday that the prospect of Britain leaving the EU was not a "parlour game", adding that slowing global growth meant it was the "very worst time" to gamble on a Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC in Shanghai, where he is attending a meeting of G20 finance ministers, Osborne said leaving the European Union would deliver a "profound economic shock" to Britain.

Britain is holding a referendum June 23 on whether it should leave the EU. Opinion polls currently put the "Remain" camp ahead, but suggest that a large number of voters have not decided how to vote.

"I think the global economy is facing more risks and more uncertainty than at any point since the financial crisis in 2008 so this would be the very worst time for Britain to take the enormous economic gamble of leaving the European Union," Osborne said.

"You've seen the value of the pound fall and this reminds us all that this is not some political parlour game, this is about people's jobs and their livelihoods and their living standards. In my judgement as chancellor, leaving the EU would represent a profound economic shock for our country."

The Financial Times newspaper reported that Osborne was pushing the G20 to come out against a Brexit and hopes the group would do so in its communique following the meeting.

Finance ministers from the world's top 20 economies are meeting in Shanghai with slowing global growth, including in host nation China, on the agenda.

Sterling dropped to a near seven-year low against the dollar on the currency markets this week following Cameron's announcement on Saturday of the referendum date and the defection of six cabinet ministers to the "Leave" side.


© 2016 AFP

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