Cameron’s EU Proposals Boost Support For Brexit


Proposed changes to the UK’s relationship with the European Union have failed to win over the public – with a poll showing support for a so-called Brexit has grown.

David Cameron hoped the package he has spent months negotiating would boost the In campaign.

But a YouGov poll for The Times carried out two days after the outline plan was revealed found 45% intended to vote Out – up three points on the previous week.

Some 36% of voters want Britain to remain in the 28-strong bloc, while 19% are undecided.

This represents a record lead for the Out campaign.

The poll result came after Lord Rose, the former Marks and Spencer boss leading the campaign to remain in the EU, predicted a win “by a substantial margin”.

The Tory peer made his claim in an upbeat and witty speech to political journalists at Westminster in which he poked fun at his anti-EU opponents and even the Prime Minister.

But Eurosceptic MPs immediately dismissed his boast as a joke.

Conservatives for Britain chairman Steve Baker MP, who was in the audience, said the prediction “may come back to haunt him”.

It is also questionable whether, at such a delicate stage in negotiations with other EU leaders, the PM and his pro-EU allies will see the funny side of such a bold prediction.

Lord Rose’s forecast came after persistent questioning from Scottish journalist Kate Devlin, of The Herald. “A win’s a win,” he said.

“If we get the 50.001%, it’s a win – I want to win, but we will win by a substantial margin.”

He began his speech with a quip about his failure to remember the name of his campaign – Britain Stronger in Europe – during a Sky News interview 10 days ago.

Asked to identify himself at the start of that interview, he said: “Stuart Rose and I’m the chairman of Ocado, I’m chairman of – sorry – of Stay in Britain, Better in Britain campaign.”

Realising his mistake and laughing, he said: “Right, start again.” Then he said: “Stuart Rose and I’m the chairman of the Better in Britain campaign, Better Stay in Britain campaign.”

But he told his Westminster audience, referring to his old job at M&S: “It could have been worse – I could have been CEO of S&M.”

Later, teasing Mr Cameron, he said: “I’m delighted to be working with Karren Brady. She’s a woman so persuasive she even turned the Prime Minister into a West Ham fan.”

He then compared selling the EU to selling in Marks and Spencer, quoting an ex-boss of the company who said: “You can spot good goods arse upwards.”

And ridiculing critics of Mr Cameron’s EU renegotiation, Lord Rose said: “We ought to have a bit of sympathy for the Prime Minister. If he found oil under his desk it would be the wrong colour. It would certainly be the wrong price.

“This is still a negotiation which as far as I am concerned is still in progress, they have made fantastic progress so far. Let’s see what comes out but ‘every little helps’ as Tesco would say.”

He added: “What we have got is a bloody good deal. Is it perfect? Well, probably not.”

And on TV debates during the referendum campaign, he said: “That’s one for the Prime Minister. Beyond my pay grade.”

Lord Rose also said during his speech: “I’m not a politician.”

That prompted The Guardian’s Michael White, sitting next to me, to shout back: “You are now!”

But impressed by Lord Rose’s amusing and sprightly delivery, the veteran columnist also advised him to have a stiff gin before giving an early morning radio interview next time.


Conservatives for Britain chairman Steve Baker dismissed the prediction

On the peer’s prediction of the referendum result, Mr Baker later came up with his own prediction: a victory for the Leave campaign by 60% to 40%.

And UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage accused Lord Rose of “massive complacency” and said: “He may be in for a shock.”

And if Lord Rose’s prediction does backfire, it will be no laughing matter for Mr Cameron and the Remain campaign.

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