Isabel Hardman

Iain Duncan Smith: Brexit would be a ‘stride into the light’

Iain Duncan Smith: Brexit would be a 'stride into the light'
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The papers report today that many Conservatives are furious with the way David Cameron is conducting the referendum campaign. MPs threaten that if the Prime Minister continues with the personal attacks that he launched at various opponents on the 'Leave' side this week, it will impossible for him to continue at leader after the referendum, whatever the result.

Today Iain Duncan Smith exacted some revenge on the Prime Minister with his own attacks on the Remain side, offering the Marr Show a rather furious critique of the campaign's tactics. Though he claimed he wasn't being personal, he directly quoted warnings made by both David Cameron and George Osborne as he ridiculed the way those who want Britain to stay in the European Union are conducting themselves:

'Britain is a phenomenal country, the fifth largest in the world, it has stood alone and fought for freedom, it has traded, it has been a global trader, it can yet again be a global trader, why would we have such a low opinion of the British people that we go and talk about 'leaping into the dark', we talk about 'profound shocks' we talk about it not being capable, that we're too small.'

He added:

'I don't see for the In campaign - this is not about personalities - the In campaign's whole strategy seems to be 'oooh it's terrible, hang on to nurse for fear of something worse'. It's been about saying we're too small, we're too little, we're too inconsequential, we can't do what we want.'

His vision of Brexit was much more positive, he argued.

I am positive about leaving the EU because I believe rather than saying it is a leap in the dark, I think it is a stride into the light. It is about hope versus pessimism and people will vote for that."

James reported in his column yesterday that David Cameron had decided to scale back his attacks on Boris in particular during the campaign. But the note he has started it on has clearly encouraged ministers like Duncan Smith to take aim at colleagues across the Cabinet table in a manner that might not have felt justified had everything been a little more civil to begin with.

Written byIsabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

Topics in this articlePoliticseu referendumuk politics