Voting begins in EU referendum as polls say result too close to call

Source: The Guardian

Polling stations have opened across the United Kingdom on Thursday morning after a closely-fought referendum campaign that neither side is confident enough to call. A final rash of polls offered mixed predictions, with two putting remain ahead and two suggesting leads for leave. Most suggest as many as 10% of voters are still undecided, meaning much could hinge on turnout today. Both campaigns have urged a big turnout although bad weather in south-east England could affect numbers.

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Politicians on both sides made their final pitches yesterday, slaloming the UK in a last-ditch effort to win over waverers and opponents. The prime minister, David Cameron, appeared alongside his predecessor Gordon Brown to issue an impassioned defence of staying within the European Union. “It is a fact that our economy will be weaker if we leave and stronger if we stay,” a shirt-sleeved Cameron told supporters in Birmingham.Brown pleaded with voters to reject the negativity that has typified much of the long campaign.

“This is not the Britain I know, this is not the Britain I love. The Britain I know is better than the Britain of these debates, of insults, of posters,” he said. “The Britain I know is a Britain of Jo Cox. The Britain‎ where people are tolerant – and not prejudiced and where people hate.”

On what would have been Cox’s 42nd birthday, a series of tributes were held worldwide on Wednesday to remember the MP, who was killed in her constituency of Batley and Spen a week ago. Her husband, Brendan Cox, said she would have planned to spend the day “dashing around the streets of her home town” campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU.

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who spoke at a separate event in London on Wednesday, agreed with Brown that the tone of the campaign had been divisive, adding: “The Farage poster of the Syrian refugees was just the pits.”

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