David Cameron hits back at Vote Leave attempts to downgrade EU ‘experts’

Written by David Singleton on 6 June 2016 in Diary

 ‘Would you build a bridge without listening to expert engineers or architects?’

The prime minister has tried to blunt Vote Leave suggestions that "experts" should be ignored in the Brexit debate.

Number 10 is keen to capitalise on the fact that a host of economic experts and senior business figures back the case for remaining in the European Union. At the same time, Vote Leave is becoming increasingly determined to downplay such interventions.

Speaking on Sky News on Friday, Michael Gove insisted: “I think the people of this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

But today David Cameron directly hit back at Gove – without naming his Tory colleague.

He told BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show: “People saying, as some of the Leave campaign did the other day, “I’m fed up of hearing from experts” - Would you build a bridge without listening to expert engineers or architects?”

As the prime minister spoke, there were fresh signs that some Brexiteers will keep pushing the ‘experts don’t matter’ argument.

Asked by one caller on BBC’s The World At One programme why all the experts had seemingly backed the Remain case, Nigel Farage said that "there is something called groupthink out there" where organisations which are similar often end up thinking the same. Farage said that these experts had previously recommended that Britain join the euro and voters should “ignore” them now.

But could one senior Vote Leave figure be reconsidering his tactics? Gove today discussed whether Europe’s Schengen Area is a security risk - by citing three experts.

He told journalists: “On the fact about Schengen and terrorism, I was quoting Ronald Noble, who was the head of Interpol, and it is a view that is reinforced by Richard Dearlove, who used to be in charge of MI6, and Mike Hayden, who was in charge of the CIA - three key experts in dealing with terrorism, all of whom say that the borderless Schengen area facilitates the work of terrorists.”

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