David Cameron has just given a rather bizarre statement in Downing Street pleading with voters to back Remain on Thursday. It was rather bizarre firstly because it didn’t contain anything new at all, and was just a restatement of the case for staying in the bloc, and secondly because it was in Downing Street, which is government property. The guidance from the Cabinet Office states that:
‘Government property should not be used for campaigning. Requests from campaigning groups to use government buildings for campaign purposes must be declined.’
Number 10 sources say that the clear guidance from officials was that this statement was within the rules. And Vote Leave sources say that ‘the Prime Minister said nothing new. There’s nothing to respond to’.
It is true that Cameron said nothing new in his statement, but he did repeatedly refer to Downing Street, pointing to the door behind him and saying that ‘some of the most important moments behind that door are when you’re reading the intelligence reports, taking in the most chilling details about those who are planning to do us harm’. He then argued that 'Brits don’t quit: we get involved, we take a lead, we make a difference, we get things done'. He was using Downing Street as a set for his statement, which may not send the official Vote Leave campaign into a spin, but will surely anger Tory MPs campaigning for Leave who already feel that the government machine was being used unfairly against them before purdah began.