In his final set-piece TV showdown before the EU vote, the Prime Minister insists the UK should “stay and fight” its corner.
David Cameron was challenged over whether his EU negotiations would be upheld in Brussels after the referendum, in his final set-piece TV showdown with the public before the vote on Thursday.
As the battle resumed after being suspended following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox, campaigners on both sides have been considering whether they should tone down the rhetoric in this divisive EU debate.
Last night’s programme demonstrated how public anger and mistrust has not muted.
The PM was quizzed over what guarantees he had that his EU reforms, negotiated in February, would be upheld after 23 June.
One man in the audience likened Mr Cameron to a “21st century Neville Chamberlain waving a piece of paper in the air saying to the public ‘I have this promise”‘ – a reference to the pre-war appeasement of Hitler.
Mr Cameron responded: “The other 27 Prime Ministers and Presidents have agreed it and they know if Britain votes to remain they will implement it.”
He went on to evoke the wartime spirit of Sir Winston Churchill to urge voters to carry on the fight for British values within Europe.
He said: “At my office I sit two yards away from the Cabinet Room where Winston Churchill decided in May 1940 to fight on against Hitler – the best and greatest decision anyone has made in our country.
“He didn’t want to be alone, he wanted to be fighting with the French and with the Poles and with the others but he didn’t quit.
“He didn’t quit on Europe, he didn’t quit on European democracy, he didn’t quit on European freedom.
“We want to fight for those things today. You can’t win, you can’t fight, if you are not in the room.
“You can’t win a football match if you are not on the pitch.”
The Prime Minister also came under pressure over the Government’s failure to bring down the immigration numbers with one woman warning public services would be “flooded” if Britain remained in the European single market.
Mr Cameron admitted: “There is no silver bullet on this issue. There is no simple way of solving this issue.”
Challenged over whether he would veto Turkey joining the EU, he responded: “I don’t think it is going to happen in decades” and he described the issue as “the biggest red herring in this whole EU debate”.
But Out campaigners picked up on the PM’s failure to guarantee a UK veto on Turkey’s membership.
Responding to Mr Cameron’s appearance on Question Time, Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott said: “David Cameron repeatedly refused to say that he would veto Turkey joining the EU.
“That’s because – in his own words – he is the ‘strongest possible advocate’ of Turkey joining.”
On the subject of Nigel Farage’s poster showing migrants and refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East with the title “Breaking Point”, the Prime Minister described it as “irresponsible and just wrong”.
He said it was “wrong in fact because it’s a picture of people from the European continent in Syria and elsewhere. They’re not coming to Britain. But also wrong in motivation as it’s designed to scare people”.