David Cameron Insists EU Referendum Is Not A Vote On His Leadership

Prime minister the morning after rough TV Brexit grilling
<strong>Not me, it's EU: David Cameron appears on Good Morning Britain on ITV</strong>
Not me, it's EU: David Cameron appears on Good Morning Britain on ITV

David Cameron has insisted it is not his leadership of the country on the ballot paper on June 23, as he attempted to return the EU referendum debate to the economy after he was accused of "scaremongering" and "waffling" by a hostile TV audience on Thursday evening.

The prime minister told ITV's Good Morning Britain this morning he could carry on in No.10 even if voters decided to take the UK out of the EU in three weeks time.

And said it was his "job" to warn people about the risks of Brexit.

Last night during the live Sky News Q&A, Cameron was confronted over the suggestion that leaving the EU would lead to a world war and recession

He said his target of reducing immigration to below 100,000 could be achieved inside the EU.

This morning on ITV, Cameron said the government needed "to do better" at controlling immigration from outside the EU to achieve this.

"Wrecking our economy by coming out of the European single market and hitting business and jobs and our economy, that would be a terrible way of trying to deal with this issue," he said.

"If we come out of the EU and have a smaller economy and fewer jobs, we will have less money to spend on public services."

Net migration to the UK was 333,000 in the year to December - the second highest ever. A record 184,000 of those came from the EU.

He rejected the accusation he and the 'Remain' campaign were trying to scare people into voting to stay in the EU with predictions of job losses.

"You’ve got all of the international and national organisations, the Bank of England, the Treasury, the OECD, the IMF, 9 out of ten economists, saying there would be a shock to the British economy," he said.

"I don’t think you can accuse the government of scaremongering when that is happening.

"The IMF, their job is to tell prime ministers when their economy faces risks."

He added: "I feel I am doing my job."

Last night the prime minister was roughed up by the Sky News studio audience, with one man accusing Cameron of having suffered "reputational damage" for deploying ‘Project Fear’ tactics.

Asked today about the divisions within the Tory party the referendum campaign has exposed, Cameron said the "passionate arguments" would not last beyond June 23.

"It is a very vigorous debate, I am not surprised by that for a moment, it raises very high passions," he said.

Asked if he could still lead his party in the event of a Brexit vote, he added: "Yes, because what's on the ballot paper on the 23 June is do we want to say in the EU or leave the EU.

"It is perfectly possible to hold a referendum, have a result, then get on with the job of governing the country."

Cameron said he and other Conservative ministers would "accept the instructions of the public and come back together and form what I want to be a radical, reforming government".