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Fishermen Protest Calls for Brexit, Cameron Threatens New Austerity | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London Mayor Boris Johnson prepares to speak to the media in front of his home in London, Britain February 21, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

London-Eight days ahead of the June 23 referendum, Ukip leader Nigel Farage joined a fleet of Brexit-backing fishing boats sailing up the Thames River on Wednesday as part of his campaign to convince voters to back a Brexit.

Farage set sail on a small trawler at the head of the fleet of 50 to 60 vessels which passed under London’s Tower Bridge.

“EU membership has destroyed our industry,” said Farage. “Today’s flotilla is not a celebration or a party but a full-throttled protest. We want our waters back.”

For his part, David Cameron said the U.K. fishing industry had grown by around 20 per cent thanks to Government reforms, and insisted it would be hit with tariffs on the sale of fish if Britain pulled out of the EU.

In his latest warning about the potential risks of Brexit, the Prime Minister suggested that economic turmoil following a “leave” vote in the referendum could result in a black hole in the public finances.

That funding crisis would lead to swinging austerity measures including cutting the state pension and scrapping free bus passes and free television licenses, he said.

However, his bid to “terrify” pensioners sparked a furious backlash from anti-Brussels campaigners.

Farage said: “Cameron has gone from saying that he ruled nothing out and that Britain would do fine outside of the EU to threatening and attempting to blackmail the British people with falsehoods on a daily basis.”

Moreover, Chancellor George Osborne warned that a Brexit vote would force him to deliver an emergency budget that would raise £30bn – half from tax increases and half from spending cuts.

The pain, Osborne had said, would be necessary because the economy’s prospects had been impaired so grievously by quitting the EU.

In addition, Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling said in an interview with the Financial Times that he expected an exit to be complete “by the end of 2019”.