Author: CHARLOTTE DAVIS
NIGEL FARAGE has said he believes the vote of 17.4 million Britons to leave the European Union may not have “got over the line” if it had not been for the issue of immigration.
The former Ukip leader was speaking after George Osborne dramatically admitted on BBC’s Newsnight show the Government had made mistakes whilst he was Chancellor which “opened the door” to the June 2016 Brexit vote.
George Osborne argued the Government adopted too negative of a tone towards the European Union and immigration, which resulted in strengthened eurosceptic forces in the UK.
Hosting his LBC show, Nigel Farage said: “I think Osborne basically admitted two things last night. One, they kept making promises that absolutely weren’t going to be delivered but it was done for electoral reasons.
“And two, that in the end, and as he said in the referendum, that question became lethal for them because people linked migration, open doors and European Union membership.
“And he did very much play down the question of sovereignty which upsets Matthew on Twitter who says ‘if Osborne thinks migration was the number one issue and not the continual bleeding away of our sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats, he is delusional’.”
Mr Farage responded to the tweet and said: “Matthew, I do think that bleeding away of our sovereignty the Junckers of this world, of course, was a huge part of the referendum.
“But I don’t think the Leave side could have won just on the sovereignty argument. I think it was actually the immigration argument that meant the turn out went up to a historically high 73 percent.
“I think it was that that really got Leave over the line. George Osborne clearly believes the same.”
During the former Chancellor’s BBC interview, he said: “I think we were wrong to play into the debate that everything that Brussels did was a challenge and a battle and was wrong.
“On immigration, we were promising targets that we couldn’t deliver and that then led to a debate about how you might deliver those targets. We contributed to that argument.”
Mr Osborne went on to argue that longstanding Brexit campaigners, with concerns about sovereignty, won the referendum by exploring public worries over immigration.
The then Chancellor was a vocal supporter of the unsuccessful ‘Remain’ campaign during the referendum.
During his time in office, Mr Osborne was a close ally of serving Prime Minister David Cameron.
He argued: “A minority of people were interested in rather esoteric issues of constitutional sovereignty.
“We allowed that minority concern of constitutional sovereignty to be linked to immigration control and that was pretty lethal in that referendum debate.”