A man has taken out a full page advert in the Metro newspaper, paying for it out of his own pocket, in response to what he calls “the rubbish being talked about immigration” ahead of the EU referendum.
Laurence Taylor has delighted people on both sides of the debate over EU membership by using data from organisation MigrationWatch and the Office for National Statistics to highlight how small the number of migrants arriving in Britain is each year, in relation to the country’s population as a whole.
“Why can’t we cope with a 0.5%/yr rise in population?” the ad asks. “Too many migrants or failure of government?”
In the small print below, Mr Taylor writes: “Vote Remain or Leave, up to you, but do it based on facts not fear.”
His intervention, the day before Britain goes to the polls, has sparked a wave of hilarity on social media.
At the bottom of the page, Mr Taylor used the ample free space on his full-page advert to highlight the difficulties countries in Europe, but outside the EU, have had in negotiating trade agreements.
Norway and Switzerland both have to accept the free movement of people in their countries as part of their trading arrangements with the EU.
“We could always try and negotiate something different, but how successful do you think that would be given that everyone else including Norway has to [accept free movement]?” Mr Taylor asks, before adding: “OK I’ll stop there. Just getting my money’s worth.”
Metro reported it had since spoken to Mr Taylor, who said he didn't want to be pictured or identified further because he had "spent [his] life not wanting to be famous".
He told the newspaper: "The reason I placed the ad is I’m fed up with the lot of them – Cameron, Farage and comedy Boris. Fed up with the lies and the scare stories."
The Leave campaign has chosen to put immigration at the centre of its push for Britain to vote out of the EU, after it became apparent all the world's leading economic authorities would hand that side of the argument to Remain.
An article by Michael Gove in The Times on 25 April set the new tone, following a line of argument which had previously been the reserve of Nigel Farage and the unofficial Leave.EU team.
Mr Gove wrote: "Because we cannot control our borders – and because our deal sadly does nothing to change this fact - public services such as the NHS will face an unquantifiable strain as millions more become EU citizens."
The EU referendum debate has so far been characterised by bias, distortion and exaggeration. So until 23 June we we’re running a series of question and answer features that explain the most important issues in a detailed, dispassionate way to help inform your decision.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies