EU Referendum

EU referendum: Nigel Farage says Leave on course for victory

Media captionSpeaking to Andrew Neil, he said the Leave campaign's message is upbeat and optimistic, adding "I think we're going to win"

Nigel Farage says he thinks the Leave campaign is on course for victory in the EU referendum with its "upbeat" message about life outside the EU.

He told the BBC's Andrew Neil his rivals were not in touch with ordinary people, whose quality of life had been damaged by high levels of immigration.

The UKIP leader said he believed that the UK would be safer outside the EU.

And responding to the Archbishop of Canterbury's criticism of him, he said "we have good and bad archbishops".

The Leave campaign has claimed that it has momentum on its side with less than a fortnight to go until the referendum on 23 June.

A poll for the Independent, published on Friday evening, suggests the Leave campaign has a 10-point lead while senior Labour figures have expressed concern to the BBC that they are haemorrhaging support to the Leave side in certain areas.

'Bubble'

In his special referendum interview with Andrew Neil, Mr Farage dismissed criticism by George Osborne that his vision for the UK outside the EU was "mean and divisive", suggesting the chancellor was part of a "Westminster bubble" who did not meet ordinary people and was unaware of what was happening in the country.

"My vision is to put this country and the British people first and for us to divorce ourselves from political union and re-engage with the rest of the world. It is upbeat, positive and I tell you something, I think we are going to win."

Media captionSpeaking to Andrew Neil, Mr Farage said: "We have good archbishops and bad archbishops"

Mr Farage, who has been arguing for the UK to leave the EU for more than 20 years, acknowledged that immigration may have boosted economic growth in the past but suggested people on ordinary incomes had suffered - many being worse off in real terms than 10 years ago.

"We shouldn't measure everything in terms of GDP figures or economics", he said. "There is something called quality of life."

He claimed that immigration controls advocated by UKIP for years - based on an Australian-style points system prioritising highly skilled workers - would ensure greater fairness in the system.

Strict controls

Brandishing his passport - which has become a familiar gesture during the campaign - he said a "strict" policy on who was allowed into the UK would make the country safer.

"We can't completely isolate ourselves from international terrorism and the problem the world faces. But the question in this referendum is 'can we make ourselves safer?', and I genuinely believe that we can," he said.

He defended comments he made in a newspaper interview last week suggesting Cologne-style assaults on women by migrants would be more likely if the UK votes Remain, saying that he had chosen his words "very carefully" and tried to make it a "non-issue" in the campaign.

Asked about the Most Reverend Justin Welby's criticism of the remarks as "racist" and "pandering to people prejudices", he responded by saying that the Archbishop of Canterbury had clearly only read the subsequent headlines, adding that "there are good and bad archbishops".

Mr Farage was speaking after one opinion poll - conducted by ORB for the Independent - suggested the Leave campaign was on 55% while Remain was on 45%.

The online survey of 2,000 people, conducted on Thursday and Friday, is the largest lead so far for the Leave campaign, which has been behind its opponents in several other recent polls.

But Vote Leave cast doubt on the poll, tweeting that its data suggested the contest was "closer to 50-50".

Pressed on Friday about whether he thinks he will lose the referendum, David Cameron told a town hall event organised by BuzzFeed UK and Facebook: "I'm very concerned about the outcome of this referendum because... we're going to live with this decision, young people are going to live with this decision the longest."


What TV debates are left, and when?

BBC:

  • A live event at Wembley Arena on 21 June with representatives of both sides of the EU debate questioned by voters. David Dimbleby, Mishal Husain and Emily Maitlis to present.
  • Two special editions of Question Time, moderated by David Dimbleby - with Michael Gove on 15 June in Nottingham and David Cameron on 19 June in Milton Keynes
  • The Andrew Neil Interviews: Leave or Remain to be broadcast on BBC One 17 June with Iain Duncan Smith

Sky:

  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will face questions from a studio audience of young people, chaired by Sky's political editor Faisal Islam on 20 June.

Channel 4:

  • Debate on 22 June, the day before the referendum, featuring "politicians, opinion formers and other high-profile pro and anti-protagonists"

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