Key voices in Britain's EU referendum

20th June 2016, Comments 0 comments

Politicians, business chiefs, faith leaders and rock stars alike have been making their voices heard on Britain's EU membership referendum ahead of Thursday's vote.

Here are some of the key players from the political jungle, and beyond who have been making their pitch for votes in the debate.

- 'Remain' camp -

- David Cameron

The prime minister's future is hanging in the balance: if Britain votes out, he is likely to face immediate pressure to quit.

Several pro-Brexit Conservative MPs are calling for him to step down after the referendum in any case over his handling of the "Remain" campaign.

- Jeremy Corbyn

The veteran socialist leader of the main opposition Labour Party has come out for the "Remain" camp, despite a backbench career of euroscepticism.

His enthusiasm for staying in the EU is lukewarm and largely based on EU membership preventing the possible agenda of a pro-Brexit Conservatives.

- Sadiq Khan

The new Labour mayor of London has tried to put the emphasis on the positive aspects of staying in rather than the risks of leaving. He says staying in will safeguard the City of London financial district.

- Nicola Sturgeon

Leader of the secessionist Scottish National Party, Scotland's first minister has threatened to call a second referendum on Scottish independence if the rest of Britain votes out but Scotland votes in.

- Richard Branson

The entrepreneur raised the spectre of a trade war if Britain were to leave the EU, saying it would be "one of the saddest days for Great Britain".

- Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The leader of the world's Anglicans warned that Britain was in danger of "succumbing to our worst instincts" by voting to leave the EU over fears of immigration.

- Ken Loach

"The European Union as it stands is a neo-liberal project, but if we leave, then we'll be faced with a very right-wing government," the veteran leftist film director told AFP.

- Matt Damon

The US actor made a trans-Atlantic plea for a "Remain" vote, dismissing the "insane idea that the best path for Britain is to cut loose from Europe and drift out to sea".

- 'Leave' camp -

- Boris Johnson

The charismatic and unorthodox former London mayor has emerged as the figurehead of the Vote Leave campaign.

If Brexit happens, he is the bookmakers' favourite to replace Cameron.

- Nigel Farage

Leader of the anti-EU, anti-mass immigration UK Independence Party, the beer-swilling Farage is outside the Vote Leave official campaign.

He has put EU immigration at the heart of UKIP's street-level campaign and toured the smaller towns and cities on a battle bus.

- Michael Gove

The justice minister and hitherto Cameron loyalist is the most high-profile Conservative cabinet minister to break ranks with the prime minister. His attacks against the prime minister have become increasingly personal.

- Gisela Stuart

The chair of the official Vote Leave campaign is a German immigrant and a rare Brexit-supporting Labour MP. Her softly-spoken style provides a counterpoint to the rhetoric of Farage and Johnson.

- Julian Assange

The WikiLeaks founder alleges that British authorities "repeatedly use the EU as political cover for its own decision-making", highlighting the European Arrest Warrant that has seen him holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for four years on Sunday.

- John Cleese

The Monty Python comedian and actor blamed bureaucrats for taking away "any trace of democratic accountability" from the EU.

- James Dyson

While most business leaders have made the case for "Remain", the renowned inventor backs Brexit, calling warnings of a trade war "absolute cobblers".

- Sol Campbell

The former England footballer claims that free movement within the EU was hindering the national team.

"Sometimes when I watch a (Premier League) side with some pretty mediocre foreign footballers, I am thinking 'where is the English talent?'," he wrote.

- Roger Daltrey

The Who rocker will "definitely be voting out", saying the EU was "created by stealth".


© 2016 AFP

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