Ipswich young voters put their questions to the prime minister
- Credit: PA
David Cameron had young voters in his sights urging students in Ipswich to help keep Britain in the European Union.
The prime minister dismissed accusations of scaremongering as he took a raft of questions from Suffolk schools and colleges at University Campus Suffolk.
Asked by radiography student Carolyn Roberts about claims the “in” campaign had launched “Project Fear” to fight a negative battle over the poll, Mr Cameron said he was only interested in “Project Fact”.
He added: “This is not about raising concerns and worries which aren’t there - they are real concerns and worries based on fact.”
Mr Cameron pointed to the length of time it took Canada and Switzerland to negotiate free trade agreements with the EU.
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He added that major economies would negotiate deals with the EU first and the UK second.
“There is without doubt uncertainty if we leave,” he said.
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“It will take at least two years to work out our relationship with the EU.”
Mr Cameron said he had no intention of resigning should the poll go against him, adding: “I don’t want to cloud the issue.”
“This referendum is about one question, it’s not about any one politician’s future or one Government’s future,” he said.
The vote represented a choice between a “Greater Britain inside the EU” or a “leap in the dark” outside of it.
He added: “We don’t do this as some sort of project of national vanity, we do it because Britain benefits.
“Of course we’re a great country and a great power but I would argue that our membership of the EU also helps us to be strong in the world and to get things done.”
Mr Cameron said the newly negotiated deal did not necessarily represent an end to the UK’s changing relationship with the EU.
“There will in future be other occasions, probably when other EU countries want to change the treaties, to maybe address even more of the concerns that the British people have,” he said.
A university staff member challenged Mr Cameron over whether EU membership fees could be better spent on education funding and student maintenance.
He said the university system was stronger inside a “strong and growing economy”.
Mr Cameron ended the event by apologising for technical issues with crackling microphones and saying he hoped a girl who fainted during the session was well.