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Jeremy Corbyn urges voters to blame Tories not EU ahead of referendum

Published 14/05/2016

Mr Corbyn will launch an attack on the Conservatives, saying responsibility for many of the country's problems
Mr Corbyn will launch an attack on the Conservatives, saying responsibility for many of the country's problems "lies in 10 Downing Street, not in Brussels"

Jeremy Corbyn has urged voters to blame the Conservatives - not the European Union - for Britain's economic difficulties as he sought to rally Labour supporters behind the Remain campaign.

Earlier David Cameron issued a warning that a vote for Brexit in the referendum on June 23 could undermine the economic recovery and tip the country back into recession.

But while the two rival leaders were out campaigning in a common cause, they had sharply differing messages.

The Prime Minister was keen to emphasise that the issue of Britain's membership of the EU was "bigger than party politics".

But at a rally in London, Mr Corbyn launched a highly partisan attack on the Conservatives, saying responsibility for many of the country's problems "lies in 10 Downing Street, not in Brussels".

His comments are likely to be seen as a response to concerns within the Remain camp that they are encountering significant hostility to the EU on the doorstep in traditional Labour areas.

The Labour leader, who for many years opposed EU membership, highlighted the importance of European regulations in underpinning workers' rights, which would be jeopardised by a Leave vote.

"It is not the European Union that is the problem here, it is the Conservative Government," he said.

"Their agenda is to end the working time directive, their agenda is to take away that protection, their agenda is to take away the four weeks holiday we won all across Europe. Their whole concept is of undercut, undercut, undercut. Increase profit at one end, increase misery at the other end."

He added: "Do we allow xenophobes to take over or do we instead occupy that political and intellectual territory of the idea that you can solve things together? You'd better build those alliances working with people rather than isolating yourselves from them."

Earlier, Mr Cameron sought to capitalise on the latest high profile warning from International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde that the prospects for Britain outside the EU ranged from "pretty bad to very, very bad".

Speaking at a Remain campaign event in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire, the Prime Minister said the country would take an "immediate and sustained hit" if it voted to leave.

"I am absolutely convinced that our economic security will be better if we stay in a reformed European Union and it will be seriously at risk if we were to leave," he told supporters at a Remain campaign event in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire.

"If we vote to leave on June 23 we will be voting for higher prices, we will be voting for fewer jobs, we will be voting for lower growth, we will be voting potentially for a recession. That is the last thing our economy needs."

Mr Cameron highlighted the loss of billions of pounds in infrastructure investment which he said the UK would suffer if its membership of the European Investment Bank (EIB) was cancelled as a result of leaving the EU.

In a statement issued by No 10, he said the EIB had poured £16 billion into projects in the UK over the past three years, helping to finance new trains, motorway extensions and research and development facitlities.

"With a smaller economy hit by new trading barriers and job losses, it's unlikely we'd be able to find that money from alternative sources," he said. "A Leave vote risks putting the brakes on the infrastructure investment we need and shifting our economy into reverse."

The official Britain Stronger In Europe campaign said that it was staging 1,000 pro-Remain events across the UK, with Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the Greens' Caroline Lucas among those taking to the streets.

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