The Sun declares for Brexit as polls show support growing for Leave
Former editor David Yelland slammed his old paper for its 'anti-German sentiment' - but associate editor Trevor Kavanangh defended The Sun's stance.
Two more polls have shown movement towards the Leave campaign, just over a week away from the EU referendum.
A YouGov survey for The Times puts the Brexit camp seven points clear on 46%, while an ORB poll for the Telegraph shows Leave (44%) closing the gap on Remain (49%) compared to last week.
Among those who describe themselves as certain to vote, ORB hands Leave a 1% advantage.
The latest ICM phone and online surveys for the Guardian were both split 53% - 47% in favour of Brexit.
Writing in the Telegraph on Tuesday, Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby suggested the Leave campaign was reaping the benefits of focusing on immigration.
“These positive trends for Leave among the entire electorate, as well as definite voters, indicate that both its messaging and campaign tactics may be beginning to pay off,” he said.
“But with just over one week left until Britain heads to the polls, the question is whether they will pay off in time.”
Polling expert John Curtice said there was a trend showing “some weakening in the Remain position”.
He added: "It was already plain that this race was far closer than the Prime Minister intended, and he must now be feeling discomfort at the thought that the outcome really could be in doubt."
As the polls point to Brexit, The Sun newspaper – which always likes to back the winner - has declared its support for Britain leaving the European Union.
In a front page editorial titled ‘BeLeave in Britain’, the newspaper said it was time for the UK to split away from “dictatorial Brussels”.
The piece derides as "nonsense" the warnings from a flurry of institutions – including the Bank of England and International Monetary Fund – that Brexit would damage the UK’s economy.
"Throughout our 43-year membership of the European Union it has proved increasingly greedy, wasteful, bullying and breathtakingly incompetent in a crisis," the editorial says.
"Next Thursday, at the ballot box, we can correct this huge and historic mistake."
The Sun’s associate Trevor Kavanagh told the Today programme that the for last 40 years two thirds of the papers readers have been "on the Eurosceptic side of the argument".
He also defended the paper's claim that a remain vote would lead to Britain being "engulfed in a few short years by this relentlessly expanding German-dominated federal state" - despite David Cameron’s recent deal stating the opposite. Kavanagh said the EU had an “ignoble track record of saying one thing and doing another”.
Asked if Rupert Murdoch had made the call, he insisted that that "the decision was made by the editor".
Former Sun editor David Yelland was unimpressed. He tweeted that he could not have written the leader and that the front page’s “anti-German sentiment is beneath us as a country”.
Other Twitter users pointed to previous comments attributed to Murdoch to explain The Sun's stance.