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EU referendum ITV debate: Johnson clashes with Remain camp over £350m figure - as it happened

It was the biggest live TV debate of the campaign so far

Adam Withnall
Thursday 09 June 2016 19:21 BST
Former Major of London Boris Johnson argues for Britain to leave the EU during The ITV Referendum Debate
Former Major of London Boris Johnson argues for Britain to leave the EU during The ITV Referendum Debate (Matt Frost/ITV via Getty Images)

The two sides in the EU referendum campaign face off in the biggest live TV debate so far, with three senior politicians representing each side. It's followed by a special EU referendum-themed Question Time with Nigel Farage. Here are the two sides in the debate:


Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish First Minister and SNP leader will be heading up the debate for the Remain camp. During the General Election her debate performances were some of the most memorable and impressive. But she is a geographical marmite politician – adored north of the border but, as the election showed, treated with suspicion bordering on dislike in some parts of middle England. Some people also cynically suggest that the ideal result for Sturgeon would be a remain vote in Scotland but with the UK as a whole voting to leave – an outcome that would trigger another independence referendum.

Angela Eagle

Angela Eagle, Labour’s shadow First Secretary of State, surprised and delighted her party’s MPs when she deputised for Jeremy Corbyn at Prime Ministers Questions. Taking on George Osborne she was widely praised for getting the better of the Chancellor – mocking David Cameron’s renegotiation and even poking fun at her own leader. She is not to be underestimated.

Amber Rudd

The Energy Secretary is one of the Tories rising cabinet stars – and the pro-European cause runs through her family. Her brother Roland is one of the main bankrollers of the remain campaign. Rudd is a smart choice as the Tory on the pro-EU side of the debate as she is likely to appeal not just to Conservative voters but also the moderate left as well.


Boris Johnson

As the only male politician on the panel Johnson will have to tread carefully in this debate. His style of bombastic bluster could easily been seen as superficial – and he needs to be careful how he attacks Rudd, Sturgeon and Eagle. He is also not a ‘details’ politician and will need to have a convincing vision for how Britain could thrive outside the EU – and not just his standard brand of blasé optimism.

Andrea Leadsom

Amber Rudd’s deputy in the Department of Energy is a details politician and as co-founder the Eurosceptic Tory group Fresh Start knows more about the intricacies of EU law and regulations than most. Her job will be to provide ballast to Johnson’s rhetoric. But she is on the right of the party and will need to ensure that her free market views don’t end up alienating viewers on the left.

Gisela Stuart

As one of the few Labour MPs supporting Vote Leave Gisela Stuart has had a high profile referendum campaign. Well respected in Westminster she is never-the-less a contrary and independent minded politician who has irritated her colleagues with her anti-European stance. Interestingly she was born and brought up in Germany and helped the former French President Giscard d'Estaing draw up what later effectively became the Lisbon Treaty.


The second question is on the economy.

Stuart for Leave says "trade will go on", that no one will turn around and stop trading with us.

Rudd says the average new trade deal takes two to three years. "They say it is about patriotism - it is the opposite. We should be leading, not leaving."

Leadsom cites Switzerland as a country outside the EU that can do better on trade.

Eagle accuses Leave of wanting to "take a huge risk". 

"Boris, you don't seem to care about the jobs of millions of people up and down the country. I think you care about only one job - and that's yours," she says.

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:41

Rudd says big businesses she has spoken to "say it very clearly - jobs will be at risk if we leave the EU".

Stuart says we are "shackled onto a failing Eurozone that is only getting worse".

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:43

The next question is on the NHS, from a student, Zahra Khan. She asks if the service will be better In or Out.

Rudd begins by saying we will have a stronger NHS if we have the money to spend on it - by staying In.

Sturgeon says you are more likely to be treated by an immigrant than treated in a bed next to an immigrant.

Johnson insists we can't ignore that £10bn a year figure we could get back.

Eagle says the Leave side are "obsessed with immigration".

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:48

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:50

From Charlie Cooper:So far the cross-party alliance of leading women in the Remain campaign has looked very convincing when they unite against the slightly blustery approach of Boris Johnson. Amber Rudd, in particular, is having a very good night, and Downing Street will be pleased with the punches she is landing on Mr Johnson. The Energy Secretary has had a relatively low public profile up till now, but is a formidable political communicator.

However, the former Mayor of London manages to land a punch and win some applause from the audience by highlighting how the Remain campaign has been accused of “insulting people’s intelligence” – not his words, but his opponent Nicola Sturgeon’s. Audience reactions in all the TV debates so far suggest that the prevailing mood in the electorate is frustration at overblown claims by both sides.


Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:51

Sturgeon says she "wouldn't trust Boris johnson with the health service as far as I can throw Boris Johnson".

Rudd says the EU makes this country "stronger and richer". "That allows us to pay more money into the NHS," she says.

She says it is a "con" from Leave that we would have more money to spend on the NHS if we left.

Johnson says the EU is the "zone of lowest growth apart from Antarctica".

Eagle cites Dr Sarah Wallaston, and John Major, Tories who have spoken against Leave. 

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:54

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:55

Stuart says part of the pressures are the numbers coming in, which you can't plan for.

Eagle says our health service "couldn't work without immigrants", saying that is something Johnson needs to recognise.

Leadsom says the NHS requires money, and says it is "simply not true" we don't get money back if we leave.

She says we will get a £10bn independence dividend if we leave - and the entire Remain panel are laughing.

Sturgeon says we all travel around Europe, and asks how we would feel if they talked about us in the way we talk about them.

Rudd talks about a £40bn loss if we leave, and Johnson turns to Sturgeon and asks if that is not scaremongering.

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 20:58

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 21:02

Hillary Benn says Eddie is absolutely right - "immigrants put more in than they take out".

An audience member says he agrees but "there has to be a limit".

Adam Withnall9 June 2016 22:55

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