David Beckham backs ‘Remain’. But his reasons why don’t make any sense

To be fair to David Beckham, he is at least slightly higher profile than some of the other ‘stars’ from the football world who have had their say on Brexit. And Michael Gove didn’t sound convincing when he traded off the news that ‘Becks’ had backed ‘Remain’ by saying John Barnes and Sol Campbell had done the opposite. In a post this morning, Beckham spelt out his reasons for wanting Britain to stay in the EU by suggesting he wants to ‘live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong’. That kind of rhetoric, whilst apparently noble, tells us little. People from both sides

Tom Goodenough

Steve Hilton claims PM was told net migration target is ‘impossible’ whilst we’re in the EU

So long as the economy was at the top of the agenda, ‘Remain’ will have felt safe in the knowledge that ‘Leave’ could do little to win over the public’s trust. But today, the Prime Minister has his former aide and friend Steve Hilton to thank for bringing the issue of migration soaring back into the headlines. What’s particularly dangerous for the Government about what Steve Hilton had to say is his claim that the PM was directly told in 2012 that meeting the promise to bring net migration down to the ‘tens of thousands’ was impossible. Here’s what Steve Hilton told the Daily Mail: ‘We were told, directly and

Jeremy Corbyn refuses to take the blame for a Brexit in lacklustre Sky debate

After finding himself accused of putting forward a half-hearted case for Remain, tonight Jeremy Corbyn had the chance to prove the naysayers wrong in his first — and final — live television debate of the referendum. Yet instead of making a passionate plea for In, Corbyn used the Sky News debate to raise some of his own reservations with the EU. While Corbyn admitted that he is not a ‘lover of the European Union’, he argued that it is better to stay and fight from within than to leave and be left with greater economic problems. However, it’s his answers dwelling on the EU’s flaws which are most likely to be remembered. While fielding questions from a studio audience of young voters, Corbyn was asked how he


Another day, another private members’ club visit for Stuart Rose

In recent weeks, there has been a genuine concern among Brexiteers that the In campaign are hiding Stuart Rose out of harm’s way in a secret location. The hapless Britain Stronger in Europe chairman has all but disappeared from the media spotlight after a series of campaign blunders — from forgetting the name of his own campaign group to mistaking Sweden for Switzerland. Despite this, Rose has become a topic of conversation in nearly every EU television debate thanks to his less than helpful claim that wages would actually rise in the event of Brexit. So, Mr S was relieved to locate Rose just last week — sun-kissed and smiling at a fashion bash at Mark’s


How Sayeeda Warsi duped The Times

Today The Times have splashed on the revelation that Baroness Warsi is defecting from Out to In as a result of the ‘hate and xenophobia’ peddled by Leave. Given that the paper have run the news on its front page, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Leave camp really are ‘in turmoil’ over the defection of a ‘leading Tory’. Only there is a small snag. Vote Leave say they were never aware she was a supporter, while Dan Hannan says Warsi declined his invitation for her to join the Leave campaign: When I invited Sayeeda Warsi to join the Leave campaign, she declined. Fair enough, obviously. But how is this a "defection"?

Tom Goodenough

Baroness Warsi defects to ‘Remain’: ‘Leave aren’t the kind of people I’d get on a night bus with’

Baroness Warsi hasn’t always been one to help out the Prime Minister when he’s in a spot of bother. But her high-profile defection from the Brexit camp to Remain will certainly have put a smile on David Cameron’s face this morning. It’s not so much that Warsi was an essential part of Vote Leave’s plans; the campaign have been keen to downplay Warsi’s importance today, saying in a tweet that ‘they weren’t aware she was ever part of the Vote Leave campaign’. Michael Fabricant, a leading Brexiteer has also questioned whether Warsi was ever involved in the first place, asking ‘Was she ever in Out?’ Whilst it’s true her involvement

Latest polls show a swing back to Remain

We are now in the final week of the referendum campaign and the swing back towards the status quo appears to be in full force. We at YouGov have published two polls this morning, one conducted for ITV’s Good Morning Britain between Wednesday and Thursday, and one conducted for the Sunday Times on Thursday and Friday. After the clear leads for Leave that polls were showing a week ago, both of our polls published today show the race coming back to neck-and-neck again: a two point Leave lead in the Good Morning Britain poll, a one point Remain lead in the Sunday Times poll. While there will be speculation about

The Spectator’s Notes | 16 June 2016

The Remain campaign takes as its model the ‘No’ one in the 2014 Scottish referendum. First and last — hence the Osborne/Darling fantasy horror Budget on Wednesday — inspire fear. Second, late in the day, leave it all to Labour and get Gordon Brown to make a passionate speech (Mr Brown took this too literally and made almost exactly the same passionate speech). Finally, shortly before polling, get leaders of all stripes to make a solemn ‘vow’ to win over the doubters. I am trying to work out what that vow could be. All 27 other member states promising some guarantee of Britain’s independence within the EU? This device has

Don’t panic! Turkey won’t be joining the EU anytime soon

The Leave campaign sees the EU-Turkey accession talks as a reason to drum up fears about migration. In fact, it is a red herring. True, David Cameron may have previously been one of the most vocal champions for Turkish EU membership, even if during the referendum campaign he said that Turkey will not join ‘until the year 3000’. But despite his apparent contradiction, he is right about one thing: Turkish membership is a long way off. So what do the accession talks look like as they stand? They are made up of 35 chapters in all but so far only one chapter – on science and research co-operation – has

Tom Goodenough

Bank of England Brexit bust-up shows the referendum campaign is getting nastier

With a week to go until the referendum, nerves are running high in both the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ campaigns. This morning, we’ve seen that nervousness manifest itself in a spat between senior Tories and the Treasury and the Bank of England. Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Howard, Lord Lamont and Lord Lawson have signed a letter saying both the BoE and Treasury have been ‘peddling phoney forecasts’ to scare people into backing ‘Remain’. In their letter to the Daily Telegraph, they go on to say that: ‘There has been startling dishonesty in the economic debate, with a woeful failure on the part of the Bank of England, the Treasury, and other

Tom Goodenough

The Spectator podcast: The Spectator backs Brexit

To subscribe to The Spectator’s weekly podcast, for free, visit the iTunes store or click here for our RSS feed. Alternatively, you can follow us on SoundCloud. In the magazine this week, The Spectator has urged its readers to back Brexit. In our leading article, The Spectator says that the European Union is making the people of our continent poorer, and less free and that the EU has started to deform our Government. When the country last held a referendum on Europe, ever newspaper in the country advocated a ‘Yes’ vote, apart from two: the Morning Star and The Spectator. And since then, our leader says this week, the EU

Coffee House shots: Osborne’s Brexit budget

George Osborne has angered Tory MPs today by suggesting a vote to leave the European Union could trigger a series of tax rises. 57 Conservative MPs have signed a letter saying that they would not support such a motion in Parliament in a move which left Osborne flailing during a tetchy interview on the Today programme this morning. So why did the Chancellor run the risk of winding up those on the Tory backbenches? And will it do anything to scare people into backing ‘Remain’? On today’s Coffee House Shots podcast, Isabel Hardman joins Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth, who says: ‘I think the aim of this was to shift

Tom Goodenough

Scottish Brexit poll shows big drop in support for ‘Remain’

‘Remain’ have being having a woeful time in the polls lately, with numerous surveys putting ‘Leave’ ahead. But north of the border, it’s been widely thought that it’s a different picture and that those wanting Britain to remain in the EU outnumbered those backing Brexit. A new poll out just now suggests that whilst that might still be the case, ‘Leave’ has also gained considerable ground in Scotland. The STV poll, put together by Ipsos Mori, shows that support for ‘Remain’ has been slashed by 13 per cent since April. Back then, 66 per cent of Scots surveyed backed Remain, compared to just 29 per cent who were planning on

Tom Goodenough

Vote Leave’s action plan shows why Brexit wouldn’t be a ‘leap in the dark’

What do David Cameron and the likes of Ed Balls and Harriet Harman have in common? The answer: they’ve all described Brexit as a ‘leap in the dark’. And they’re not alone in saying those campaigning for Britain to leave the EU have no plan for what happens next. We’ve heard the ‘leap in the dark’ phrase repeatedly over the last few months. But today Vote Leave have spelled out their action plan for a scenario that looks increasingly likely, at least if the polls are to be believed: what happens after a vote for Brexit on June 23rd? The ‘Leave’ campaign say that it would ‘make no sense to

Coffee House shots: Brexit builds momentum, but can ‘Remain’ fight back?

Brexit has continued to build momentum in the EU referendum race with successive polls putting ‘Leave’ ahead. So with nine days to go, is there anything ‘Remain’ can do to fight back? On this special daily edition of our Spectator Coffee House shots podcast, Fraser Nelson joins Isabel Hardman and James Forsyth to discuss today’s events as the countdown to June 23rd gets ever closer. James Forsyth says the polls in recent days ‘are triggering levels of panic that are even greater than the levels of panic in the final days of the Scottish referendum’. And Fraser Nelson says it’s difficult to see what ‘Remain’ can do to regain the

Tom Goodenough

‘Remain’ dodges a hammer blow from the European Court of Justice

‘Remain’ might be trailing in the polls, but the campaign can at least be grateful they haven’t been dealt another hammer blow by the European Court of Justice today. The European Commission had tried to claim that the UK Government was wrong to check whether those getting child benefits were allowed to live in the country before paying out. But thankfully for ‘Remain’, the ECJ ruled that it was legal to hold back money for unemployed EU migrants who were not allowed to be here. The good news for ‘Remain’ is that the decision didn’t go the other way. Given how momentum has increasingly shifted towards ‘Leave’, particularly after yesterday

Gordon Brown shows once again he’s learnt nothing from his run-in with Gillian Duffy

Gordon Brown’s intervention in the EU referendum debate was meant to be all about putting forward the positive case for voting ‘Remain’. But not for the first time, the former Prime Minister appears to have fallen flat on his face over immigration. It wasn’t quite as bad as Brown’s Gillian Duffy moment in that he didn’t call anyone ‘bigoted’ for holding a view on migration. Instead, though, the message to those worried about migration was…you’re worrying about the wrong thing. Brown told John Humphrys on Today that: ‘The biggest problem is illegal immigration.’ So the essence of Brown’s message was not to speak to the many Labour voters who genuinely

Tom Goodenough

Can Gordon Brown give the ‘Remain’ camp the boost it so badly needs?

As the countdown to the EU referendum debate continues, the momentum appears to have continued to swing towards Brexit: ‘Leave’ went ahead in the polls last week, with one survey putting them five points clear of ‘Remain’. What’s more, David Cameron has looked more and more rattled. Yesterday, he had to answer questions on Marr about whether he really believed his warnings over Brexit, given that the UK leaving the European Union now doesn’t seem so unlikely. So if Project Fear isn’t paying off, what can the ‘Remain’ camp do to try and regain control of the debate? The answer for the Prime Minister this week is to take a step