The campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union is creating some strange alliances.
Prime Minister David Cameron from the right and newly elected London Mayor Sadiq Khan from the left hit the campaign trail together.
Cameron said it was symbolic of the wider agreement across the political spectrum.
Khan said the issue is more important than differences between them: “You know the economic case is crystal clear – the evidence is compelling. From the treasury, from the IMF (International Monetary Fund), from the Bank of England, and from many others. Here in London, I see more than half a million jobs directly dependent on the European Union.”
Cameron – calling himself a Euro-sceptic – stressed he had pushed to cut the European budget: “I would say that when we admit frustrations with the European Union, and we sometimes do and I certainly have, that is not a cause of weakness in our campaign, it is a cause of strength in our campaign because we are levelling with people.”
The pairing was particularly strange to some given that during the London Mayoral race the Conservative party candidate Zac Goldsmith had joined forces with Cameron and other senior members of his members to question Khan’s past appearances alongside radical Muslim speakers at public events, accusing him of giving “oxygen” to extremists.
Majority of economists support ‘Remain’
Cameron and Khan were speaking just after the release of a survey that showed nine out of 10 of Britain’s top economists believe the economy will be harmed if the UK leaves the European Union
The poll of more than 600 economists working in the City of London financial district, small business and academia found eighty eight percent of them thought an Brexit would most likely damage Britain’s growth prospects over the next five years.
While 82 percent said there would probably be a negative impact on UK household incomes.
Campaigners on both sides of the argument have targeted the economy as one of the main battle grounds to win round voters who are split in what is becoming an increasingly bitter fight over Britain’s future.
‘Out’ campaigners say Britain would be freed from regulation and red tape if it left the European Union, able to negotiate its own trade deals without having to please 27 other countries.
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Vote Leave, accused economists of making “the same hollow arguments” they made to support switching to the euro.
“There was a cosy consensus among economists supporting Britain scrapping the pound 15 years ago … They were wrong then and they are wrong now,” he said in a statement.
But the ‘In’ campaign has pressed its argument that Britain would suffer an economic downturn if it left, hurting the pound, jobs and wages.