Politicians in Britain on Wednesday made their final pitch to a bitterly divided electorate on the eve a historic referendum to persuade undecided voters of the merits of remaining in or leaving the 28-member European Union.
The polls, so far, have shown, a razor-tight race whose outcome could shape Europe’s future.
In the biggest backing yet for the “Remain” camp, 1,280 business leaders, which included representatives of 51 FTSE 100 companies, signed a letter warning that Brexit – or Britain’s exit from the EU – would mean “economic uncertainty and put jobs at risk”.
Their warning, according to PTI, came on the last day of the four-month-long campaigning before polling booths open at 7 am local time tomorrow with the final result expected early on Friday.
Prime Minister David Cameron and the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn were among those who addressed rallies arguing that the UK will be better off and safer with a Remain vote in Thursday’s poll.
Former London Mayor, who’s from Cameron’s Conservative Party, Boris Johnson and the leader right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party, Nigel Farage, were among those who appealed to their own Leave supporters – with the ex-London mayor urging people to “believe in our country”.
More than 46 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum.
The UK public, according to BBC, are being asked to choose whether the UK should stay in the European Union or leave in the first vote on the UK’s links with Europe for more than 40 years.
On Wednesday, Cameron made an appearance with former prime minister, John Major, who too warned the far-reaching consequences if Britain voted to exit from the EU on Thursday.
Cameron told BBC Radio 4, “You can’t jump out the aeroplane and then clamber back through the cockpit hatch. If I had to sum up this entire campaign in a word, it would be that word ‘together’. I think together we are better able to face the challenges from terrorism and climate change, we are better able to grow our economies, better able to drive good trade deals… and I want us to get the good deals so we give better chances to everyone in our country.”
Opinion polls have suggested that while big business is broadly in favour of staying in the EU, small firms have been evenly split in what looks like a photo-finish with one poll showing “Remain” at 45 per cent and “Leave” 44 per cent, with 11 per cent undecided.
But Boris Johnson and other Leave campaigners said only a vote to leave the EU could give the UK the freedom it needs to set its own course, rejecting the economic forecasts suggesting the country would face a downturn following Brexit.
Cameron also said that he would lobby for further changes to free movement rules in the light of European Court rulings if the UK votes to remain and said the process of EU reform will “continue on Friday”, insisting that reducing net migration was “not an unrealistic ambition”.
However, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, appeared to reject that option as he told reporters in Brussels “out is out”, suggesting that if there was a vote to leave “there will be no kind of renegotiation”, saying David Cameron “got the maximum he could receive” after months of talks which ended in February.