Labour deploys Boris lookalikes to push ‘Brexit budget’

Written by Sebastian Whale on 10 June 2016 in Diary

Labour heavyweights were out en masse today to urge voters to back Remain

Senior Labour frontbenchers today sought to weaponise Boris Johnson as they stepped up the party’s attempts to persuade its traditional supporters to back the Remain campaign.

Activists distributed copies of a ‘Tory Brexit Budget’ while wearing a mask of the former London mayor ahead of a major speech by deputy party leader Tom Watson.

Watson warned Britain could face an emergency Budget with further cuts to public spending coupled with tax rises if it leaves the EU, which would be cobbled together by leading Brexiteers Johnson and Michael Gove.

The deputy party leader said: "Labour is clear that Britain is better off in Europe. It brings us jobs, investment, protects workers and consumers and helps keep us safe.

"Leaving would put that at risk. It's a risk that people like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove might be able to afford, but it's not one that millions of working people in our country can."

Ed Miliband also today took aim at Johnson, saying his and other Brexiteers' vision for the UK represents a “triple threat” to working people.

He urged voters not to be taken in by "the fraud of the Leave campaign" or Brexit-backing Tories "trying to disguise themselves in Labour clothes". 

The decision to single out Johnson comes after he was on the receiving end of a barrage of attacks from fellow Tory Amber Rudd, Nicola Sturgeon and Angela Eagle during an ITV EU event last night.

The energy secretary said in her closing statement: "He's [Boris] the life and soul of the party, but he's not the man you want driving you home at the end of the evening".

Speaking to PoliticsHome after the debate, Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith claimed Rudd & co were using "scripted lines", as he condemned the "personal abuse".  

Today's direct appeal to the Labour base comes amid mounting concerns among party chiefs that their traditional supporters are ignoring their pleas to vote Remain.

Watson, who appeared alongside senior Labour figures Yvette Cooper, Angela Eagle and Owen Smith, also used the platform to suggest David Cameron would be ousted from Downing Street after a Brexit.

"It's these people on the hard right of the Conservative party who will be in government if Brexit is lost,” he said.

"That will be the end of David Cameron and they will be the people dealing with the deficit and the cost of a Tory Brexit."

Meanwhile two Labour MPs, veteran Dennis Skinner and John Mann, both came out in favour of leaving the European Union.

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