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23 June 2016

The best quotes of the EU referendum campaign

From Emma Thompson to Nicholas Soames, our favourite lines from the long campaign.

By New Statesman

“It’s nonsense. Nonsense on stilts”

The former prime minister John Major, on claims that 88 million Turks will gain the right to live and work in Britain


“A cake-filled, misery-laden, grey old island”

Emma Thompson’s statement on Britain that led the Sun front page to tell the actress to “shut yer cakehole”

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“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods . . . there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe”

Boris Johnson links the EU to attempts through history to create a “European superstate”


“I understand it is being suggested in some quarters that I would have agreed to the Maastricht Treaty. May I make it clear that I would NOT have done so”

Margaret Thatcher in a 1993 note to the Eurosceptic Tory MP Bill Cash


“Walking away isn’t the spirit of the suffragettes, it’s the spirit of surrendered wives . . . ”

The Labour MP Stella Creasy responds to Priti Patel’s attempt to claim that the Pankhursts would have backed Brexit


“The point about a swoosh is it goes down – even if you turn your trainers upside down”

David Cameron mocks Boris Johnson’s argument that the economy would follow a “Nike swoosh” after Brexit, going briefly down and then turning upwards


“We’ll turn round to the bureaucratic elite and say: ‘We’re just not into EU’”

Ukip’s Suzanne Evans references a classic romcom to bolster the case for Brexit


“What are the gilded elites up to this beautiful day? Elites pse report your Activities”

The Tory MP Nicholas Soames mocks Boris Johnson’s man-of-the-people pose

This article appears in the 14 Jun 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink