Cameron: £9m pro-EU campaign is 'money well spent'

David Cameron has said he will "make no apology" for spending more than £9 million of taxpayers' money on pro-EU campaign, which includes sending a leaflet to 27 million homes as a cost of £6.4m.

Mr Cameron said the cash was "money well spent" during a question and answer session with students at Exeter university today.

Boris Johnson said it was "crazy" to use so much taxpayers' money on a "very biased and hysterical" campaign about the risks of leaving the EU.

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More than 150,000 sign petition against pro-EU leaflets

A petition urging the Government not to spend taxpayers' money on pro-EU leaflets has been signed by more than 150,000 people.

The petition was set up online. Credit: petition.parliament.uk

The Government plans to spend more than £9 million on a pro-EU campaign, which includes sending a leaflet to 27 million homes as a cost of £6.4m.

The petition says voters "deserve a fair referendum - without taxpayer-funded biased interceptions by the Government".

Parliament considers all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate.

Gove hits out at £9m EU 'propaganda' leaflets

Justice Secretary Michael Gove has hit out at a £9 million government leaflet campaign detailing its reasons for wanting the UK to remain part of the European Union.

Eurosceptic minister Mr Gove, who has spoken out in favour of the 'Leave' campaign, said the money should be spent on other priorities such as the NHS.

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Cameron admits cabinet splits on EU are 'difficult'

Cameron said the division will not affect government Credit: PA

The prime minister has admitted that cabinet splits over the EU are "difficult" and personally "disappointing" but has insisted that they does not destabilize the working of the government.

David Cameron compared high-level disagreements on the issue to divisions within a family, but said that it was only right to let ministers follow their convictions.

"This is obviously a difficult and almost unique situation" he told students at Exeter University.

"It's disappointing when someone I admire a lot like Michael Gove has reached a decision I don't agree with but you just have to recognise this is such a big issue that you can't just bury these differences."

He said he does not believe that it "necessarily means the government suffers" as a result.

It's different, it can be a bit abrasive, emotions will run high, arguments will get robust. But I think in a mature democracy if you're going to have a referendum...you have got to let people be on both sides of the argument.

– David Cameron

Cameron: £9m pro-EU campaign is 'money well spent'

David Cameron has said he will "make no apology" for spending more than £9 million of taxpayers' money on a pro-EU campaign including leaflets to be delivered nationally ahead of a referendum on the issue.

Mr Cameron said the cash was "money well spent" during a question and answer session with students at Exeter university today.

"I make no apology for the fact that we are sending to every household in the country this leaflet which sets out what the Government's view is and why we come to that view," he said.

I don't want anyone to go to the polls not knowing what the government thinks and I think that is money well spent. It is not in my view just legal, it is necessary and right.

– David Cameron

Labour MP: Brexit leaflet 'meant to distract from tax row'

No 10 says Mr Cameron does not and will not benefit from offshore funds Credit: PA

An anti-EU MP has said the publication of a national leaflet warning against Brexit is a tactic to distract attention away from Mr Cameron's personal tax affairs after he was dragged into the Panama Papers offshore scandal.

Labour's Graham Stringer suggested the announcement may have been timed to distract scrutiny from the prime minister after it emerged that Mr Cameron's father had set up offshore assets.

No 10 says Cameron does not benefit from offshore funds, but he is facing pressure to give more details of his assets.

"He hasn't answered the questions about his historical income and whether that has come from tax havens or not," Mr Stringer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"He needs to answer that question and it's clearly very uncomfortable for him and this diverts attention."

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said it was a low tactic to make the suggestion in a rebuttal of the claims.

"How could it be a diversion? This is a leaflet that has been weeks in preparation," he said.

Government 'didn't break pledge on EU leaflet campaign'

The defence secretary and pro-Europe minister Michael Fallon today said the government was entitled to put out an anti-Brexit leaflet despite promising not to do so because the campaign has not yet officially started.

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond had previously pledged that there would not be a national government leaflet drive in the run-up to a national referendum.

Mr Fallon today said that promise had not been broken as the official campaigns have not yet kicked off.

"The leave campaign will also be entitled to a similar amount of taxpayers' money to put out their leaflet once the campaign gets going so there will be information from both sides," he told Good Morning Britain.

The government is not neutral, let me be very clear about that.

This government, the democratically elected government and cabinet, has taken a decision that on balance we would be better off, safer and stronger, inside a reformed European Union.

And therefore we are entitled to put our case out.

– Michael Fallon

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Government faces backlash over £9.3m pro-EU campaign

The Government has been accused of abusing its power after announcing it is throwing £9.3 million of public money behind a drive to encourage people to vote for Britain to remain in the EU.

A booklet will be sent to 27 million homes, backed by a social media campaign, which the Government said would help people make an "informed" choice in June's referendum.

Brexit campaigners described it as an immoral and undemocratic move.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston reports:

Farage: Government pro-EU leaflet 'jammed full of lies'

Nigel Farage described the Government campaign as a 'scam'. Credit: PA

The Government's pro-EU leaflet is "jammed full of lies", Nigel Farage has said.

The UKIP leader said: "Why is the Government spending £10 million of our money telling us what we should think and what we should do?

"This is very much like what happened in 1975, legally it is questionable and morally it is wrong. It was wrong in 1975 and it is wrong now.

"This Government scam confirms my view that this referendum will be defined by the battle of the people versus the political class.

"Furthermore, the document is jammed full of lies and inaccuracies including the claim that we currently control our borders. We don't. It is outrageous to suggest otherwise."

Boris: 'Crazy' to spend £9.3m 'scaring people' over Brexit

Boris Johnson has said it is "crazy" to use £9.3 million of taxpayers' money on a "very biased and hysterical" campaign about the risks of leaving the EU.

Responding to the news of the Government's pro-EU mailshot, Mr Johnson said both sides should have been able to put their arguments across.

He said: "Given that I think it's very likely that it will be very biased and hysterical and warning unnecessarily about the risks of leaving the EU, I think it's a complete waste of money.

"It's crazy to use quite so much taxpayers' money on stuff that is basically intended to scare people and to stampede people in one direction.

"I think what we want is a proper, informed debate and if you are going to use taxpayers' money, you should allow people to put the other side of the case as well."

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