Reeling from the murder of British lawmaker Jo Cox, the EU referendum campaigns resumed yesterday, with just days to go until the critical vote that will shape Britain’s future.
The “Remain” and “Leave” camps suspended campaigning for three days after the killing of Cox on Thursday last week. A 52-year-old man has appeared in court charged with her murder.
However, with the polls too close to call, leaders were yesterday to hit the TV studios to begin their final push for votes.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants Britain to stay in the EU, said the country was facing an “an existential choice,” from which there would be “no turning back.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Sunday newspapers picked sides in their final editions before the referendum.
The Mail on Sunday and the Observer gave their support to the Remain camp, while the Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph broadsheets backed quitting the EU.
Resuming the campaign, Cameron said the British economy “hangs in the balance,” with trade and investment set to suffer in the event of a Leave vote and a “probable recession” that would leave the UK “permanently poorer.”
“If you’re not sure, don’t take the risk of leaving. If you don’t know, don’t go,” he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.
“If we were to leave and it quickly turned out to be a big mistake, there wouldn’t be a way of changing our minds and having another go. This is it,” he added.
Cameron, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, from the Remain camp, were yesterday all scheduled for major TV appearances.
Meanwhile, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage was set to do the same for the Leave camp.
The What UK Thinks Web site’s average of the past six polls, conducted between June 10 and Saturday, put the Remain and Leave camps absolutely level at 50-50, excluding undecided voters.
The Leave camp had been a few percentage points ahead in recent polling, but fresh surveys showing a rise in support for remaining brought the average neck-and-neck.
They included the first carried out since Cox’s murder: a Survation poll on Friday and Saturday that put Remain on 45 percent and Leave on 42 percent.
The results were the reverse Survation’s poll on Thursday, which had Leave ahead by 45 to 42.
Labour lawmaker Cox had campaigned for Britain to stay in the EU.
She was shot and stabbed in the street in what police called a “targeted” daylight attack in her constituency.
Cox’s alleged killer, Thomas Mair, said “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain” when asked to give his name at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Saturday.
He was remanded in custody until his next court appearance today at England’s central criminal court, and a psychiatric report has been requested.
Cox, 41, is survived by her husband Brendan and their children Lejla, five, and three-year-old Cuillin.
In making their decisions, Britain’s Sunday newspapers tried to sway their readers in how to vote.
The Mail on Sunday warned it was “not the time to risk the peace and prosperity” of the UK.
“Our deepest desires must somehow be moderated to suit the increasingly tough reality of a competitive world,” the tabloid said.
“Those who would have you believe in the plucky Little England of the past are selling a dangerous illusion,” it added.
The Observer said: “For an international, liberal and open Britain, we need to be part of the EU.”
The choice was between “going it alone” or a “messy, imperfect collective,” but “outside the EU, our role in the world would be diminished,” it said.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Telegraph backed Brexit, declaring that the EU “belongs to the past.”
“The Leave campaign has articulated an ambitious vision for Britain as an independent nation, once again free to make its own decisions,” it said.